Ponda food kiosks back in business

Ponda town's roving eateries are back to business on the streets as the food and drugs administration (FDA) department has allowed them to temporarily operate on certain conditions.

Twenty-seven days ago, the kiosks were banned from doing business as they did not have a FDA licence.

The FDA conditions include, using disposable plates and cups to serve food items and packaged water to drink.

Earlier, in a humanitarian gesture, the PMC issued them a common conditional no objection certificate (NOC) to operate. Based on this and the NOC from a health officer, the FDA has allowed them to operate, FDA food inspector Rajiv Korde told TOI.

"We have allowed the kiosks to operate for time being by ensuring some health measures. However, no kiosk has been issued any licences at present. We are going to conduct an inspection on October 23 to ascertain the maintenance of sanitation by the kiosks' operators and then only would consider them for licences," Korde said.

The town has about 30 roving kiosks that serve food items such as 'vada-pao', 'bhel-puri', 'ras-omlet' and Chinese fast food.

Speaking on conditions of anonymity, a kiosk operator said that the gap of about 27 days has affected their business badly.

"Stopping the business by the FDA has spread a wrong message about the hygienic condition of the kiosks and it has resulted in marginal decline in the number of customers visiting us," another kiosk operator revealed on conditions of anonymity. [TOI]