29 May 2017 | Last updated 02:31 PM

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Ice in your golas, kulfis inedible
Prajakta Joshi | Friday, 19 May 2017 AT 11:50 PM IST
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Pune: Irked with the searing heat of summer, roadside ‘iced golas’, kulfis, sugarcane juices with ice, and other ice creams are a huge hit among Puneites.

While ice seems to be the best option to deal with the hot sun for most, beware, as the ice that you consume might not be of the best quality. Moreover, it might as well be inedible.

According to an earlier report in Sakal Times, there is only one licensed ice factory functional in Pune, and neither Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) nor the FDA seems to have any control over where the ice used by the street vendors in the city comes from. When quizzed about the source of the ice he uses, an iced gola vendor off JM Road reluctantly answered that it is dropped by the pickup van of an ice factory every morning, refusing to reveal the whereabouts of this factory.

While it has been reported that the ice used by most of your iced gola and juice vendors is inedible industrial ice, supposed to be used for the purpose of storage, there are other factors as well that make this ice hazardous.

The way the ice is transported or stored is often unhygienic.

If you care to minutely observe the thermocol boxes in which the ice is stored, or for instance take a round around these carts early in the morning, you will notice the unclean and unhygienic way in which the ice is carried around.

A senior activist of consumer rights, Suryakant Pathak, questioned that if the government and FDA know that ice is being produced illegally in the city, why don’t they hunt and close down these unlicensed ice factories. “It is in the hands of the government to investigate and shut illegal production of ice, but it chooses to ignore the issue instead. Also, the government can issue more licensed ice factories so that more vendors are able to buy qualitative ice. FDA needs to take samples of ice from the street side vendors to check if they are contaminated or not. This way, it could also track the ice back to the producers.”

Pathak also took a dig at the vendors saying, “Those vendors who buy ice from illegal producers should realise that ultimately, it is the people on whom their business is dependent. So they should be careful of what they are feeding their customers.”

Apart from iced gola, this ice is also used by numerous juice vendors and sugarcane juice sellers. Just like the iced gola vendors, these vendors just prove the point that there are hardly any vendors in the city that buy ice from valid sources.

Advocate Abdul Pathan, Corporator, ward no 27 (Meetha Nagar - Kondhwa Khurd), who recently raised the question about the safety and condition of the ice used by city’s street vendors in the PMC, has alleged that the corporation is least bothered about the way ice is being used by these vendors. “Following the recurrent instances of common cold and influenza in our ward, our doctors suggested that this might be due to the over-consumption of ice, which might not be in a good condition.
Taking a cue from this, I questioned PMC about the condition of the ice and on whether they monitor the licenses of the street vendors using ice and their sources. However, the replies that I have received from the corporation are not at all satisfactory and I don’t feel that much is done by them in order to ensure the health and hygiene of the public in this case,” he added.

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