Lack of rules forces private food trucks off roads

City Food

BBMP says it is working on provisions

While mobile Indira Canteens have gained popularity in Bengaluru, other food trucks are finding it tough to do business. Police force the private vehicles to move away, operators say.

Neither government officers nor the private operators have any clarity on the licence required for the food trucks to operate. Both Indira Canteens and the food trucks run on the basis of the FSSAI licence and permission from the RTO. The hawker’s licence the latter possess doesn’t seem enough for them to function.

Varun Sequeira, president , Bengaluru Food Truck Association, informed The Observer: “The problem is that we don’t have proper rules for food trucks in our country as it is a relatively new concept. The hawker’s license does not permit you to cook in the vehicle or avail of gas facilities. We depend on the FSSAI licence and permission from the RTO, but sometimes that does not seem enough for the authorities. We have to deal with police on a day-to-day basis. They interfere in our business. We mostly find our customers in places like Koramangala, HSR Layout and Indiranagar. Mobile Indira Canteens are parked on BBMP properties, so they find it easy. BBMP is drafting an entirely new set of rules to accommodate us.”

According to Suraj of Great Indian Bhukkad, “authorities create a fuss about our parking. We are in constant negotiation with BBMP officials to provide us some licence so that we can go about with our business.”

BBMP PRO L Suresh said: “As of now, we don’t have any rules for these food trucks. We are working on them. There is public litigation in process in this regard as well. Laws and clauses will soon be put in place for food trucks which would help them to function smoothly.”

“Our goal is to provide hygienic food to people and serve the cuisine they like. BBMP does not have any licence for us. We have permission from the RTO and the FSSAI licence. The hawker’s license is valid only till 8pm; and it doesn’t allow using cooking gas. Now since mobile Indira Canteens are out on the streets, we expect BBMP to soon come with new sets of rules and regulations since it matters to them as well,” Leoma D’Souza of the Swat Food Truck said.

Varun Srikanth, founder of Food Truck League (FTL) said: “We need a bunch of licences, including the fire and safety licence, FSSAI licence and permission from the RTO. But there is a lot of confusion. For example the vehicles, the RTO permit under the ‘Mobile Canteen Clause’ does not allow us to modify them according to our requirements. There are no readily available food vehicles in the Indian market.  So most of us buy Tempo Travellers and modify them according to our requirements; but the RTO interferes in this. We are in talks with BBMP regarding laws that we should abide by. But they have not come up with any solutions so far.”

FTL, which caters mainly to IT companies, has 45 food trucks.

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