As Cost Escalates, Street Food Vendors’ Earnings Go Down | Bhubaneswar News

As Cost Escalates, Street Food Vendors’ Earnings Go Down | Bhubaneswar News

Bhubaneswar: Every evening the lane adjacent to Convent School near Ram Mandir Square turns into a food street with a number of vendors lining up with their colourful food trucks and carts selling mouthwatering dishes like roll, chowmein, chhole-bhature, chat, pizza, burger as well as a wide range of beverages to kulfi and faluda.
Even though the food carts get a steady stream of customers, most vendors said they make no or little profit due to skyrocketing prices of essential items like edible oil, flour, tomato, and lemon.
Subash Sahu, a food cart owner who sells samosa, alu chop, bara and piaji, said he was making no profit due to the high prices of edible oil in the past few months. “Even though I am using the cheapest palm oil in the market, it costs Rs 165 per litre. Besides, the price of besan and maida has also increased substantially. If I increase prices of items, then customers will go to other carts,” said Sahu.
Popular chat seller Sarat Parida, who has been doing business in the city for the last 40 years, said he had lost a few customers after he increased the price of one plate from Rs 40 to Rs 60 in January. “After almost two years of no business, the high prices of ingredients from gram to flour to oil and vegetables has led to losses after I opened the stall. Therefore, I decided to increase the prices by Rs 20 per plate. But this did not go down well with many of my customers,” said Parida.
Kuna, an eatery owner in the Patia area, said that a few months ago he used to spend Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000 daily for preparing meals which he used to sell at Rs 50 per plate. But now his daily investment has increased to Rs 3,000 as the prices of edible oil, rice, spices, chicken, fish and vegetables has shot up. “After thinking about it a lot, I increased the price by Rs 10-20 per plate, but many people stopped coming. I have not opened my shop for the past 15 days,” said Kuna.
A large number of street vendors are facing losses and after the pandemic curbs were withdrawn, many did not resume business due to financial difficulties. Many of those who reopened their shops, are now closing down after being badly hit by inflation.
Pratap Sahu, all India joint secretary of National Hawkers Association, said that around 45% roadside vendors who were in the food business have quit post-Covid due to increase in prices. “Many vendors who had food business and opened eateries on roadsides after the pandemic, are now closing them again due to the high prices of raw materials and transportation,” Sahu said.