Mumbai: BMC Faces Criticism As Ex-Corporator Asif Zakaria Questions Approval Of 5-Star Hotel's Food Trucks In Bandra Without Tender Process

Mumbai: BMC Faces Criticism As Ex-Corporator Asif Zakaria Questions Approval Of 5-Star Hotel's Food Trucks In Bandra Without Tender Process

The food trucks have been operating at the Carter Road and Bandstand since last week.

SHEFALI PARAB-PANDITUpdated: Tuesday, January 16, 2024, 09:51 PM IST
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Ex-corporator Asif Zakaria has come down heavily on the BMC for allowing a five-star hotel to operate two food trucks in Bandra “without inviting a tender”. However, Assistant Municipal Commissioner (H-West ward) Vinayak Vispute defended the move, saying that a “special permission” has been granted just for a period of six months. The food trucks have been operating at the Carter Road and Bandstand since last week.

In a strongly-worded letter to BMC administrator Iqbal Singh Chahal, Zakaria asked that on what terms and conditions, the hotel has been given the nod to station the food trucks under the name 'Qmin Qurated Quisine'. He alleged that the permission was given without any transparent tender process or revenue model for the BMC.

“As per the food truck policy, tenders should have been floated by the central purchase department. Also, a monitoring committee at the ward level was supposed to decide on the spots, and check hygiene periodically. Moreover, the food trucks could operate if there were no objections from the local residents and its owner had secured all the permissions for starting the business,” said Zakaria.

Asserting that the vehicles have hit the traffic flow in the area, he continued, “They are creating a nuisance to the living condition of the locals. The food trucks are parked opposite housing societies, which is causing a major disturbance. Also, the cars and bikes (of patrons) are parked illegally around the truck, thereby causing cleanliness and hygiene issues.”

When The Free Press Journal contacted the hotel's public relations officer, the person sought queries on email. However, no comment was received.

In 2021, Chahal directed the formulation of a comprehensive food truck policy, but the proposal didn't gather pace until 2022. Even after the BMC prepared a draft policy, the plan didn't move ahead. Finally, the policy was approved last year. It was decided to allow 50 food trucks in the first phase. As per the draft policy, around 50 per cent of the workforce will be reserved for vulnerable groups like the specially abled, economically weaker sections, and self-help groups and NGOs run by women. The contractors who would operate these trucks will be appointed through tendering and they will not sell any raw vegetables or fruits. 

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