Bengaluru: The Congress government in Karnataka today launched a new populist initiative of providing subsidised food to the poorest of the poor in this hi-tech city with the inauguration of a chain of ‘Indira Canteens’ by AICC Vice President Rahul Gandhi.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who has the credit of introducing distribution of rice at Rs 1 within hours of his swearing-in four years ago described the new initiative as an attempt to make the State ‘hunger free’.
In all, there are 101 canteens in the city with the ultimate aim of setting up 198 canteens, one in each city corporation wards.
While breakfast would cost Rs 5, lunch and dinner would be served at Rs 10. Each canteen is targetted to serve around 500 people per day and the number might increase depending upon the demand, according to city Corporation authorities.
Congratulating the Siddaramaiah government for this venture, Gandhi said that “I came to understand that the State Government proposes to open ‘Indira Canteen’ in all the cities and aims to see that nobody will suffer from hungry. It was the dream of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to ensure no citizen went to bed in hunger.”
Gandhi called upon the State Government to maintain the quality of food served in a hygienic way keeping in mind the health of the people which is very important.
Stressing that it is the fundamental right of people to have food and this model should have been taken up at the national-level, Gandhi said it will help labour class, auto drivers, senior citizens and people visiting the State for various reasons and finding it difficult to pay for high cost charged by private hotels.
It will also help the people to concentrate on the work they are doing for the economic development of the country instead of worrying to earn for two meals a day, which is very important for survival. In a slip of the tongue, Gandhi initially referred to the canteens as ‘Amma canteen’.
However, he corrected it immediately. Amma canteens are vogue in Chennai and launched by the late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa.
The Siddaramaiah government brought the new venture after introducing free distribution of rice/wheat/jowar through PDS system for people belonging to Below Poverty Line (BPL).
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Minister for Bengaluru Development K.J. George, Minister for Transport Ramalinga Reddy, KPCC President and Working President Dr G. Parameshwara and Dinesh Gundurao, BBMP Mayor Padmavathi, were among those who participated in the opening of the ‘Indira Canteen’ function. Later he tasted the offerings of the canteen.