Land scarcity makes civic canteens go mobile in Bengaluru

Land scarcity makes civic canteens go mobile in Bengaluru
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Bengaluru: Unable to procure land to set up Indira Canteens in all civic wards here, these would soon be made mobile, a civic official said on Saturday.

“Due to the lack of land availability in few civic wards, the civic authorities have decided to have 24 mobile Indira Canteens in the city which would be parked near public parks and prime locations of the wards,” the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) spokesman L. Suresh told IANS here.

The mobile Indira Canteens, which will provide food to the poor at subsidised rates, would be run on modified Tempo Travellers equipped with CCTV cameras and GPS system to track their locations.

To be unveiled on January 26, these mobile units would also have overhead drinking water tank and an underground sump to collect used water, Suresh added.

The state government-run canteens, named after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, were unveiled on August 16 last year by Congress President Rahul Gandhi aiming to make Karnataka “hunger-free”.

With an eye on the upcoming state polls in April-May, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who is also the state Finance Minister, had earmarked Rs 100 crore in the state Budget in the 2017-18 fiscal to run the canteens in all 198 civic wards.

These canteens are run on the lines of the popular ‘Amma Unavagam’ in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, started by the then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, late J. Jayalalithaa.

The canteens which are currently operational in over 150 civic wards, have been serving vegetarian breakfast at Rs 5 per plate and lunch and dinner at Rs 10 per plate. There are 12 kitchens operational in the city to cater to these canteens.

Due to delays in procuring the land for setting up the food canteens, the BBMP could not open the canteens in all 198 wards by October 2 last year, as the Chief Minister had earlier stated.

With a budget of Rs 185 crore, the state government in October had decided to open 246 Indira Canteens in all the 30 districts of the state and their sub-districts (taluks).

The daily operating cost of all canteens in the state was estimated to be Rs 29 lakh, with monthly expenditure of Rs 9 crore.

After the Congress party in Karnataka set up these subsidised food outlets, canteens are being set up across the state in the name of other political leaders as well to woo the voters.

A Janata Dal (Secular) leader from the state had started “Appaji Canteens”, named after the JDS supremo and former Prime Minister H.D.Deve Gowda.

Supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state unit President B.S.Yeddyurappa are also planning to set up low-cost food outlets named “Yeddyurappa Ji Canteens”, though the party isn’t funding these outlets.

IANS