Like Lahore, Chandigarh now has its own Night Food Street

December 15th, 2008 - 9:23 am ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Dec 15 (IANS) If the choicest of Punjabi dishes at Gawal Mandi in the Pakistani city of Lahore seem too far away, take heart. A similar Night Food Street has been set up closer home in Chandigarh for those who relish rich and spicy fare.Opened over a week ago at Sector 14, it has been seeing a mad rush of people every evening after sunset, with students, families and even visitors from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh making a beeline for it.

“I went there twice last week but both the times, I couldn’t manage to get a set. It was that crowded,” said Daljit Dhillon, a resident.

The Night Food Street is open from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. The eight kiosks there offer an assortment of cuisines at very affordable prices, with tables and chairs lined up right outside the shops.

The food street has come up right next to Panjab University and the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here.

“Depending on the response, we will announce two to three more such food streets in other parts of City Beautiful,” Chandigarh’s Mayor Pardeep Chhabra told IANS.

“The Night Food Street will offer the cuisines of states like Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Besides, they will also offer south Indian, Chinese and continental food.

“There will be a proper sitting arrangement for customers and special emphasis will be laid on maintaining cleanliness and hygiene,” stated Chhabra.

More than 4,000 students stay in the hostels of the university.

“The Night Food Street will benefit hundreds of students who are staying in the hostels. Our hostel canteens close at 9.30 p.m. and we have to wander around in search of food in the late hours,” said Harman Gill, a research scholar from the varsity.

“Moreover, we have to go to some other sector to have food and that becomes quite difficult during winters. Also, many times traffic cops stop and unnecessarily harass us. But now we do not need to go anywhere in search of food as it is right at our doorstep,” added Gill.

The food street will also benefit thousands of patients and their attendants who come every day to PGIMER from various states.

“We have only one tea stall vendor sitting at the gate of Panjab University when we come back to our hostel rooms at around 2 a.m. after studying in the library. This food street will be of great help and here we have many options on the menu,” said Hemant Boriwal, a student of business management staying at the hostel.

Although the idea of a night food street was proposed in 2007 by a former mayor of Chandigarh, it took almost two years for the municipal corporation here to put it into shape.

“The proposal of night food streets was mooted in last year’s budget estimates of the corporation, Chandigarh, but somehow the proposal could not take off. This year, with the total budget of over Rs.1.5 million, the food street has been completed,” said a senior corporation official.

Officials say the response to the food street from those who want to buy shops has been encouraging.

“We had reserved the bid price for the kiosks at Rs.5,000 but we got over 50 bids for eight kiosks from people who were ready to pay a monthly rental of over Rs.30,000,” the official said.

Though Lahore and its Gawal Mandi are just a five-hour drive away from Chandigarh, foodies may no longer have to go that far!

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