‘Goli Baje’ ‘Ambade’ Served on Paper Plates at Hotels due to Water Scarcity in City
Mangaluru : The water scarcity or water rationing has not only hit hard on the City residents, but also restaurants/hotels who serve food to the citizens. For my morning breakfast or little later during the morning time I go to one of my favourite restaurants in the city-but visiting this restaurant on Sunday morning after Mass, I was surprised to see that my steaming hot “Idli with chutney” and bisi bisi “Goli Baje” was served on a paper plate instead of regular steel plates, and drinking water served in a tiny transparent plastic cup. With curiosity I asked the steward, how come they were serving food and water in paper plates/cups and not as usual in steel plates, and his reply was that the restaurant was facing acute water shortage and quite a variety of the snacks were being served on paper plates.
Hotels and restaurants in the city are facing the brunt of water scarcity now with some using paper cups, paper plates, and plastic cups to supply food and beverages to customers.There are many other restaurants who have opted to serve food on banana leaves- and two such restaurants which Team Mangalorean found out were Usha Kiran Restaurant, Car Street; ( a restaurant visited by many middle-class citizens and labourers); and Hotel New Swagath, Balmatta-Mangaluru. Speaking to Team Mangalorean, Santhosh, the owner of Usha Kiran restaurant in Car Street said, “Since there was not enough water to wash steel plates and other utensils, we have switched temporarily to paper plates, till we get enough supply of water. Last week for few days we served food on paper plates and water in transparent plastic cups. When we get enough water we switch back to our regular dining plates and cups. The water shortage has forced us to to close down between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. now, with no other option. Hope we will have rains soon, otherwise this water scarcity will harm our business very bad”.
Yet another restaurant which used to serve lunch in steel plates, Hotel New Swagath have switched to banana leaves, and customers seem to like have their food eaten on a banana leaf, the tradition Indian way. Speaking to Team Mangalorean, Raghavendra Rao, the owner of this restaurant said, “Since two weeks we have using banana leaves during lunch time to serve the meals, due to the water rationing we are facing. Earlier we needed two tankers of water (a round 12,000 litres, but after switching to banana leaves we are saving at least 6,000 litres of water, and also manual work of washing dishes. Also by using banana leaves we can dispose them off, without any harm to the environment. Since we have no complaints from our clients of serving food on banana leaves, we may continue serving food on banana leaves permanently”.
Yet another restaurant owner speaking on water scarcity said, ” This water scarcity has really hit our business during the busy season, when tourists visit this coastal city. I have during the past few days spent a lot of money hiring tankers to supply water, and the worst part is that these private owners of water tankers are charging enormously. and our city authorities have done nothing to stop them from over-charging. If the water scarcity lasts for long, I may shut my restaurant till everything gets back on track. I can’t make money to please and serve my customers by shelling out more just ion water. And also being a Ramadan month, it has been a hectic time to face the brunt of this water shortage”.
Some hotels have introduced eco-friendly bio-plates made from Arecanut sheaths or Arecanut leaf plates. But this did not go down well with many customers who are yet to get accustomed to it. Due to the river Netravathi drying up, it has hit hotels, restaurants and lodges in Mangaluru, with the owners of middle-class hotels and restaurants worst hit. Many of them can’t even depend on private tankers anymore as many of them are either getting too many requests or have been hired by Mangaluru City Corporation to supply water. It is also learnt that the flow of customers to hotels/restaurants has also increased with the tourist season beginning. Also that the hotels and restaurants are getting some extra customers as many people who are unable to cook at home due to water shortage visit eatery places for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Summer is the time many owners of Hotels and lodges in the City earn enough revenue to continue their businesses during non-season time, like monsoons. The present water shortage has made this difficult as they don’t have profits to fall back on. But those hotels/restaurants having bore-wells, open wells or the capacity to hire a large number of tankers have not been affected. Water scarcity has hit about 600 plus hotels and restaurants, excluding bars, visited mostly by the middle class. As such hotels and restaurants remain open from early morning to late evening, they require huge quantities of water.
Swarna Sunder, vice-president, Association of Hotels and Restaurants in Dakshina Kannada speaking to media had said, ” If the water scarcity continued some of them, mainly budget hotels, might be forced to close down till proper water supply resumes. Among the 600 plus restaurants/hotels, nearly 400 hotels depend on water supply from the corporation. They don’t have large water storage facility and access to their own bore-well water. Such hotels have been using paper cups and paper plates on such days when the corporation stops water supply in the city. Now the corporation supplies water for four days and then stops the supply for the next four days”.
“Vegetarian hotels and restaurants are the worst hit as they remain open from about 6 a.m. till 10 p.m. and hence require more water. Whereas the non-vegetarian hotels serve food only at noon and night. Though hotels purchase water through private tankers, its quality is not good. Filtration units of many hotels are getting blocked due to mud content in water. Therefore, the demand for packaged water in hotels is up as customers are aware of the water problem and fears about the quality of water. Since the city is facing water scarcity at a time when tourist flow is maximum, and if it did not rain in the nearest future or by first week of June the hotel industry will be the worst-hit” added Sunder..
In conclusion, normally paper plates and paper cups are made out of wood fibers or are polymeric products which can be recycled, so as per me it is a good initiative to save water as this can be easily disposable and recycled. So using paper plates and paper cups seems to be a very good initiative and so does water conservation. Only way the water problem could be solved once rain God comes to the rescue of the people, blessing them with heavy showers. So Let’s Pray Hard!