[Reader-list] Paani puri politics

Yousuf ysaeed7 at yahoo.com
Sat Apr 16 18:24:43 IST 2011

Anna Hazare's tribe grows. I don't know whether to feel sorry for the street vendors or the MNS goons.

Paani puri politics

Posted On Friday, April 15, 2011 at 02:27:46 AM

On Wednesday, Mumbai Mirror had published the story of a paani puri vendor - caught on camera by reader Ankita Rane - urinating into the lota used to serve his customers.

Three days later, the isolated story which ought to have triggered awareness about unhygienic street food, has turned into a political circus.

Ankita, who has been besieged with congratulatory calls since her story was published, saw nothing wrong when local political worker Rahul Shelar organised a meeting MNS supremo Raj Thackeray at his Dadar residence on Thursday. "He (Thackeray) saw the video and congratulated me on my courage," said Ankita. "He also said the civic body is not doing its job."

Minutes after Ankita walked out, party workers were out on a rampage across Dadar targeting vendors of Nimbu Panni, Panni Puri, Bhel Puri, Batata Vada and other street food. Ignoring the pleas of shocked and hapless vendors, they tore down stalls, overturned carts and destroyed wares.

MNS workers clear the Dadar and Shivaji Park areas of street vendors on Thursday afternoon.

The agitation gathered momentum and by evening MNS workers in groups had managed to leave behind a trail of destruction from Dadar right up to the suburbs including Dahisar, Andheri, Khar and even areas like Colaba and CST. The hawkers were no match for the marauding brigade.

Sandeep Deshpande, the department head of the party said that this agitation is in interest of the common man. “Hawkers sell unhygienic food on the streets and people consume it. This drive is against such unhygienic food being sold,” he said.

Chief Minister Prithivraj Chavan, who was in Ghatkopar when MNS rampaged its way through the city - said, "There are Supreme Court guidelines on food being sold on the streets and the government will ensure that they are followed and effectively implemented."

Back in Ankita's neighbourhood, the street food vendors had disappeared before the politics of 'piss puri' could catch up with them.


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