Unprecedented price hike
Business of roadside food vendors booming
The business of roadside vendors and stall-holders is booming despite the fact that they sell unhygienic food. The inflation-stricken people prefer to buy their meals from a vendor or a stall-holder who offers comparatively lower rates than that charged in hotels and restaurants.
Rush of people could be seen around food pushcarts at mealtime along Saidpur Road, Shamsabad, Banni, Raja Bazaar and other parts of the city. The vendors, who once used to deal only in ‘pakoras’ and ‘samosas,’ now serve rice, ‘naan channa’ and chicken curry as well. A man, who earns hardly two or three hundred rupees per day, is attracted towards them despite knowing that it could be a health hazard.
People who have their meals from roadside vendors or makeshift stalls say that eating food from a restaurant or hotel is no more affordable for them. “A one time meal for a single person in a hotel costs at least Rs100, while it can be done in just Rs25 from a vendor,” said Shakeel Sheikh, a labourer, who was having lunch at a pushcart along Saidpur Road.
Pervaiz Khan, a taxi driver, said that until last year he used to have his meals from a hotel, but now he is a regular customer of roadside vendors due to high inflation. “I have to save money for my family members living in the AJK and I do it by eating food from vendors,” he said.
On the other hand, hotel and restaurant owners are angry with these vendors as they consider them a ’grave threat’ to their business. “Our customers are reducing day by day due to low rates of these footpath vendors. I admit that our rates have increased but the reason behind it is increase in rates of pulses, meat, ‘atta’ and ghee. Vendors serve substandard food that we can’t,” said Mubashar Ahmad, a hotel owner.