For those fond of street food in the valley, the blanket ban on the sale of pani puri on the streets hasn’t gone down well, with many people taking to social media to question the move.
For South Asian foodies, it is almost impossible to imagine street food without pani puri. But the popular snack—known by different names such as gol gappa, gup chup, pani ke patanshe, phuchka and chatpate across the region—won’t be available for now in the Nepali capitalKathmandu.
Last week authorities in Kathmandu decided to stop the sale and distribution of pani puri, suspecting its consumption behind the outbreak of cholera in the valley of 2.5 million. Water sample testing confirmed contamination.
The detection of Vibrio cholera 01 Ogawa serotype, the bacteria responsible for causing cholera, in 70 per cent of the city samples, including those collected from spicy water used in pani puri, swung health officials in action.
Over 12 confirmed cases of cholera have come to light so far, the Ministry of Health and Population confirmed. Measures, including the banning the sale of pani puri for two weeks among others, are being taken to mitigate the risk of further spread, Sitaram Hetechu, the police chief of the local municipality, said.
For some weeks, experts were warning about a possible outbreak of water-borne diseases, given the excessive rainfall and disruption in the garbage collections, which might have led to contamination of the city’s drinking water supply. Warnings, however, were ignored.
Furthermore, Nepal has repeatedly witnessed cholera outbreaks in its different parts, mainly because of poor sanitation and weak public health infrastructure.
On the other hand, it has also affected the livelihood of sellers, who mostly come from society’s weaker economic segments, as the government hasn’t announced any relief measures to compensate them.