February 4, 2009 1:14:58 am
The cultural and spiritual capital of Uttar Pradesh,Varanasi,is set to have the countrys first food street.
A project of the Ministry of Food Processing Industry,food streets will come up in Varanasi and 9 other cities across the country.
The project,estimated to cost Rs 178 crore,aims to develop a food zone in a city which has a special item associated with its traditional lifestyle. In the first phase of the project,food streets will come up in Varanasi,Tirupati and Ahmedabad.
In Varanasis exclusive food street,the makers of the famous Kashi ki chaat will be trained to prepare items in a more hygienic manner. They will also be given properly designed shops with a traditional set-up. The items on the list for the food street include aloo chaat,puri aaloo,kachauri aloo and dahi palak.
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The Varanasi Nagar Nigam (VNN),which has been made the nodal agency for the project in the state,has already received a first installment of Rs 25 lakh. With the installment,VNN will develop small kiosks in traditional designs,which will be allotted to the vendors. Later,they will be trained by a team from the Ministry.
A senior VNN official said: The food street will come up between the Aashapur Crossing and the statue of King Suheldeo in the Sarnath area of the Varanasi district. This area has a large number of chaatwalas with small kiosks. While earlier the area looked quite small,after the encroachment was removed,we have more space to accommodate the existing chaatwalas.
The ministry has already given its green signal to the project.
Under the project,the citys local bodies will be asked to identify and develop the area by building shops for the vendors. Apart from being trained in preparing food hygienically,the vendors will also be taught to package the items in a manner keeping in mind international standards. Varanasi was chosen not only because its chaat was famous,but also because the city has a high tourist footfall, said a VNN official.
A team comprising three representatives from the Ministry will soon meet the Mayor of Varanasi,Kaushalendra Singh,to discuss the project. We will also try to generate employment through this scheme,as more and more vendors will be invited to be a part of the project, said the official spokesperson of VNN.
Under the scheme of upgradation of hygiene and quality of street food,10,000 street vendors across the nation will be identified and profiled. Steps will also be taken up to improve the hygiene and quality of food. They will be granted quality certification on the basis of standards worked out by the Ministry. Moreover,10 food streets with ethnic cuisine will be identified under this scheme. Majority of the stakeholders will be upgraded in terms of quality and hygiene and support given for creation of infrastructure such as drainage,water supply and lighting.
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