TN Seeks 'Vegetarian Only' Restaurants for RTC Buses, Takes U-Turn After Outcry

The DMK government first excluded non-vegetarian restaurants from transport corporation's tender process.

2 min read
TN Seeks 'Vegetarian Only' Restaurants for RTC Buses, Takes U-Turn After Outcry

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Tamil Nadu's Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) government was forced to withdraw, on Friday, 25 March, a tender notice that in effect asked the state's road transport corporation buses to avail services only at vegetarian restaurants.

The tender, which was issued on Thursday, 24 March, said that transport corporation buses would stop only at restaurants that provide vegetarian food. The buses stop en route to allow passengers to get refreshment during long journeys.

The notice pertained to both State Express Transport Corporation (SETC) and Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) buses.

The notice was hurriedly withdrawn a day later after public outcry over the government's slant towards vegetarian outlets.

A statement from the state directorate of information and public relations department issued on Friday read, "Following complaints from commuters and hotel owners, we have revised the rules. The rule that the hotels should serve only vegetarian food has been retracted."


Complaints from Commuters That Hotels Serve Unhygienic Food

The controversial tender notice, issued by the transport and road safety department, stated that the government has been receiving complaints about eateries with unsanitary kitchens that serve unhygienic food. However, the tender did not specify whether bad food was being served only by restaurants that serve non-vegetarian food.

A source close to the state transport department told The Quint, “This decision was taken because most of the complaints pertained to non-vegetarian restaurants.”

The tender notice stated that only vegetarian restaurants should apply for affiliation with the transport corporation.

The notice also insisted that restaurants with CCTV cameras, hygienic kitchens, nominal pricing, computerised billing systems and complaints boxes should apply for the tender. Toilet facilities at these establishments must be provided free of cost for passengers. All items sold at MRP, the tender notice read.


Restaurant Owners and Bus Associations Oppose

Several bus associations and hotel owners were miffed by the announcement.

“We can’t believe Tamil Nadu government planned to impose such a rule. How can the government dictate what to eat and what not to? Also as a responsible government they should ensure all eateries, no matter what they serve, are hygienic,” a senior member of the State Express Transport Corporation had told The Quint.

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