Road­side food busi­ness booms in T/gang

Business Bhutan - - Money - Jigme Wangchen from Trashigang

Com­muters along the Trashigang-Pam high­way usu­ally make a brief stop at the Kheri junc­tion for a quick bite of street food.

The ven­dors are mak­ing use of a per­ma­nent shel­ter meant for trav­ellers wait­ing for trans­porta­tion. Road­side food ven­dors re­main busy from the early morn­ing hours un­til late in the morn­ing sell­ing mo­mos, sel roti and jalebis.

A monk from Trashiyangtse said that when­ever he vis­it­sTrashigang he makes a stop at the Kheri junc­tion to eat momo. “I have been stop­ping here since a long time back and the ven­dors out here are close to me.”

An­other com­muter said that he stops at the Kheri junc­tion espe­cially to buy sel roti and jalebis.

The ven­dors, all women, come from low­in­come fam­i­lies. Budhi Maya, a ven­dor earns more than Nu.5,000 daily from sales. For a mother of three, sell­ing food along the road­side has be­come vi­tal for sur­vival.

“Though we can earn a good amount for the sur­vival of my fam­ily, due to more num­ber of ven­dors sell­ing at the junc­tion, we have a rou­tine to fol­low. We sell our food on al­ter­na­tive days,” she said. “My hus­band hardly cares about us and I am run­ning the fam­ily with what I earn here.”

In the past, the first few ven­dors would sell food in Trashigang town. But the au­thor­i­ties con­cerned asked the ven­dors to close shop as as is­sues re­lated to hy­giene, san­i­ta­tion and lit­ter­ing arose lead­ing them to do­ing busi­ness along the high­way.

Sonam, a com­muter said that as the num­ber of street ven­dors is in­creas­ing, there is a huge con­cern with san­i­ta­tion and hy­giene.

How­ever, an­other ven­dor said that while some of them sell veg­etable mo­mos, oth­ers sell beef mo­mos.

“So we have rules we ad­here to be­sides main­tain­ing san­i­ta­tion and hy­giene.”

Mean­while, a Bhutan Agri­cul­ture and Food Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity (BAFRA) of­fi­cial said they are strictly mon­i­tor­ing the hy­giene as­pect of the street food in­clud­ing kitchen san­i­ta­tion, pos­ses­sion of food han­dler’s li­cense and ob­serv­ing health pro­ce­dures.

“We have fast test­ing kits to test food items and we also keep watch on whether they are us­ing plas­tic gloves and forceps among oth­ers as ad­vised,” said an of­fi­cial from BAFRA.

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