When being told that her French subjects had no bread, Marie-Antoinette supposedly sneered, Qu’ils mangent de la brioche—“Let them eat cake.” That pretty sums up IFFI’s food court at this year’s edition of the festival as well. The ratio of alcohol to tea is 4:1 – there are four stalls serving alcohol and just one serving tea and coffee. What is worse, Goan food has virtually no presence in the food court. There is only one stall selling a Goan fish thali for Rs250/- if you can afford one every day, during this eight day festival.
The Goan self-help groups who were relegated to Bioscope, at Children’s Park in Campal where hardly any delegates went last year, were seen expressing their helplessness about the lackadaisical attitude by the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG). “We are trying to meet the organisers at ESG but we are not allowed inside. We have already submitted our applications and did the paper work but we haven’t heard from ESG,” lamented a lady representing the self help groups.
These ladies were serving some traditional, home-made, fresh food that happened to be a favourite among all delegates a couple of years back at IFFI. In fact, they were the best advertisement for Goa tourism and Goan cuisine at IFFI. But in the last couple of years, they have been given step-motherly treatment and instead of encouraging the local self-help groups, ESG has replaced them by some fancy stalls selling expensive food which is not even Goan. Nothing wrong with fancy, some can afford it some can’t – the delegates should have a choice. For example, there is just one stall in the whole venue serving tea and coffee at Rs60/- a cup.
After spending so many crores of rupees on the festival, the least the organisers can do is provide food at reasonable rates to delegates who come at their own expense from near and far places. But as always, the comfort of the delegates is certainly not on the priority list at IFFI.