Ponda’s closed ras-omelet vendors want government jobs

Alleging that the decision to stop ras-omelet kiosks has deprived them of their livelihood, several such roadside kiosk operators from Ponda have demanded government jobs in exchange for the business.

"The kiosks were our livelihood and as the government has ordered us to stop our business, we want government jobs," a kiosk operator, despite having crossed the age limit for entering government service, said.

He said they have been running the business for over two decades and stopping it suddenly has deprived the kiosk owners of their livelihood. He said various families survive on income generated from the kiosks which helps educate their children and so the government must revise recruitment rules to make government jobs available to affected kiosk owners.

Stating that food and drugs administration (FDA) has stopped their business alleging that kiosks do not maintain hygiene, another vendor said hygiene at roadside eateries is better than that of restaurants.

"We prepare the dishes in front of our customers and wash our dishes in their presence. This ensures cleanliness. If we had not maintained hygiene, customers would have never returned to our kiosks," the kiosk owner told TOI.

FDA food inspector Rajiv Korde said the kiosks were shut down as they do not have the necessary licences necessary. "They have been asked to stop business for want of the FDA licences. We have no objection to them running their business or issuing FDA licences to them, but to get our licence, they must submit local civic body and health authority permissions. No ras-omelet kiosk at Ponda has any of these licences," Korde said. Stating that action has also been taken against 'wada-pao' vendors and Chinese fast food vendors, Korde said the three Chinese fast food vendors have licenses.

Ponda municipal council chief officer Pradeep Naik said the council has not yet prepared a policy regarding allotment of permission to kiosks, so the civic body cannot issue any permission. "When there is such a policy in place, we can issue permissions. It is the council that should draft the policy," Naik said. [TOI]