A recipe for disaster
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A recipe for disaster

Exposed frying woks in the food stalls of Dwarka's market areas are an ever-present danger to visitors. They may serve up tasty snacks but are they worth the risk?

A recipe for disaster A food stall in a Dwarka market

We have all seen those bustling markets in our neighbourhoods that are not only a haven for shoppers but foodies as well, serving up everything from noodles to aloo tikki to rajma chawal. But do they have a down side as well?  Yes, accidents.

All these food stalls do their cooking in the open, which may lead to incidents of gas-cylinder explosions and burning hot oil falling on visitors. 

Some areas of Dwarka are only too familiar with these incidents. Go for a stroll in the markets of sectors 6, 10,4, 5, 11 or 12, and you will come across some stall or the other frying pakodas in a huge wok out in the open. The situation becomes even more scary when you realise how congested a market area actually is.

Arvind Rudra, a resident of Sector 4, says, “In the markets of this sector, cooking and frying snacks in the open is common. The problem here is two-pronged. On one hand, these stalls encroach upon public space and on the other, their cooking is a danger to visitors.”

Vimal Gupta, a resident of Sector 10, says, “It's not only the cooking that's the problem. They set up stalls in narrow roads, along with small dining areas with chairs and tables, which lead to congestion. It's a common sight at the Sector 12 market.”

“In the markets of sectors 4 and 12, you will see a number of stoves burning round the clock. In the evenings and on weekends, these stalls get pretty high footfall. It can be a scary situation if things go wrong. It is amazing how many people turn up to eat despite being aware of the risks involved," says Ramesh Mumukshu, general secretary of the Aashirvad Apartments RWA, in Sector 16B.

According to some visitors, many eateries on the ground floor of buildings have extended their shops to the area in front, in some cases even "renting" it out to smaller vendors.

Mukesh Yadav, director of press information, South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), says, “We are aware of the situation. Encroachment-removal drives are carried out from time to time, and action will be taken soon.”