BHOPAL: Since decades they have tantalised the taste buds of foodies from Indore and outside in the nocturnal hours. But with their businesses shut down compulsorily since last five months owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are now running from pillar to post to save their families of starvation.
A delegation of food and snack traders, who ran shops at Indore's famous Sarafa Chopati night food street met former mayor and ex-MP Krishna Murari Moghe on Sunday. With shops shut down since March 18 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the traders sought the veteran BJP leader's help in getting their businesses opened again.
"They met me today and asked me to talk to the administration and government to allow their businesses to resume. On the lines of Chhappan Dukan, the other food market in Indore, the Sarafa Chopati traders have requested to ask the administration to allow their shops to open again and serve the delicacies on parcel/take away basis. I've assured to take up their cause with the local administration and find a way out," Moghe told The New Indian Express.
According to Raju Singh, who has been running a snacks and South Indian food shop at the famous night food street, the shutdown has snatched away livelihoods from around 1000 families. "Not only has our family lost business opportunities worth around Rs 5 lakh during the last 4-5 months, but have also been forced to send home six labourers who worked for us. We also met BJP general-secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya a fortnight back, but he expressed inability to help our cause due to the continuance of night curfew," Singh said.
Another snacks trader of Sarafa Chopati, Golu Chokse said that unlike Chhappan Dukan where permanent snacks and food shops are located, the Sarafa Chopati functions outside jewellery shops, when they are shut in the evening hours.
"The jewellers who allow us to operate our stalls in the evening and night hours once their shops are closed, pressurise us to share our revenues. They are already ready to allow us operate again, but the administration and police are not allowing us to operate again. If the Sarafa Chopati isn't opened soon, many families would be completely starved," he said.
Importantly, the Sarafa Chopati is one of Indore's prime attraction and is a crowded night food street which has been operating daily between 8 pm and 2 am since decades. The night food street has found mention in almost all leading food magazines and culinary TV channels, with various top chefs and celebrities shooting episodes there.
Since March, Indore considered MP's commercial and food capital has been state's prime COVID-19 hotspot by so far reporting over 9800 positive cases and 340-plus deaths.