Hyderabad: The Sindhi Colony has now become Hyderabad’s food hub as nearly 50 or more stalls are set up everyday catering to a wide variety of delicacies. Despite the success of the stalls, they have encroached upon city roads raising concerns of hygiene.
Turning into Sindhi Colony, one is greeted by a host of aromas. In the evenings, a long row of stalls adorn the side of the road as vendors set up their outlets.
People often find their way to the colony to grab a quick snack or to try out a new stall. Although the food is nothing less than delicious, many of the stalls breed bacteria. With no standards for health, the stalls rarely ensure that cooking utensils are cleaned well.
The contaminating agent in the stall is possibly the cook’s own hands. Kitchens should have hygienic standards that ensure washing of hands before handling food and in between cooking to ensure that cross contamination does not happen. However, it is a rare sight to find a cook wearing a head cover or washing hands while cooking in these stalls.
Gloves are rarely used and it is a common sight to see the cooks dip their hands into ingredients to add those to the food being prepared. The cooks have also been seen wiping sweat and using their unwashed hands to cook.
The food is often served on a piece of newspaper placed on a plastic plate. Once the food is eaten, the newspaper is crushed and thrown away and finally the plate is dipped in a small bucket of stagnant water. No soap is used. The cooking utensils are full of grime as they are not washed well and food is left out in the open. The open food is frequented by flies that are abundant in the area. In addition, cows are often seen wandering on the street. It is not uncommon to see cow dung in the middle of the road.
GHMC director vigilance Vishwajit Kambati said, “The department is working to cover all the areas where there are encroachments. A total of 8,500 encroachments around the city have been removed and based on the lottery system, main roads are being targetted first and secondary roads will follow soon.”
Meanwhile, the innumerable stalls in Sindhi Colony are nowhere close to dwindling. Despite various reports, authorities have not taken any action to improve hygiene levels.