In a move that will not only bring a much-needed 'change of flavor' at some of the most famous Khau Gallis but also ensure that Mumbaikars can savour street food cooked in hygiene, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has selected 62 streets or Khau Gallis for developing them into 'street food hubs'.
In a meeting earlier, the BMC officials informed Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray about their plan on the street food hub. On the lines of food truck systems in foreign countries, the BMC plans to realign the existing stalls uniformly, allowing food trucks.
Those willing to start a stall or food truck can apply for licenses to BMC, the civic body will allot them pitches at places earmarked as food hubs across the city. The food hubs will be allowed to operate between 6 pm to 10 pm every day at the designated areas, officials said.
“Many people rely on outside food due to their busy schedule. They look forward to street food. However, the way these food stalls are operating currently needs realigning and redesigning. Cleanliness and hygiene will be the priority for these food stalls and food trucks. Also, we are working out on the timing window these food hubs will be operational. They will be allowed to do business only during that window," said a senior BMC official.
He added, "There are at least three to four streets in each of the 24 wards in the city where informal and unchecked Khau Gallis exist and some of these stalls operate from late night to the wee hours, many of these stalls are illegal and unhygienic. Once the street food hubs are set up, things will be uniform and clean. Those willing to set up stalls in these food hubs will have to apply for the same and follow the rules. Following this licensed food trucks and stalls will be allotted fixed pitches and existing places will be upgraded."
The civic body has almost decided on a fixed time window for food hubs in tourist areas or public places. However, the civic officials are thinking of allowing these food hubs to remain open from morning to evening in commercial hubs and office areas like Nariman Point, Fort, Lower Parel and a few others.
An official said, "We will set stringent norms for the stalls and food trucks that will be allotted pitches at these food hubs. They will have to ensure they clean up the place before the shut shop."
Civic officials claim that the initiative will not only add to the revenue of BMC coffers but also generate employment.