After the popular ‘Amma canteens’ in Tamil Nadu, introduced by former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, Congress’ Vice President, Rahul Gandhi launched the Karnataka government’s subsidized food canteens ‘Indira Canteen’ in Bengaluru that would provide breakfast at Rs five and lunch and dinner at a cost of Rs ten.
Initially referred to as ‘Namma Canteen’, the name was later changed to ‘Indira Canteen’ as Congress legislators sought to give a political touch to the populist announcement ahead of the Assembly polls early next year by naming it after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. An amount of Rs 100 crore was provided in the budget to set up the canteens in 198 wards of Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
Siddaramaiah government had announced setting up of the canteens in the state budget for 2017-2018. Congratulating the state government for the canteen program, Gandhi said it is designed to make sure that not a single person in Bengaluru goes hungry. Calling the world an “unfair place” he said that it is targeted at the working class like construction workers and auto rickshaw drivers. He said that he wants the people from poorest and weakest sections in Bengaluru to feel that they will not have to stay hungry in this city. There cannot be a single minute where a poor person in Bengaluru is hungry. Gandhi said the intention was that the quality of food and cleanliness in it be the same as the most expensive restaurants in Bengaluru.
CM Siddaramaiah along with other ministers like Congress General Secretary in-charge of the state KK Venugopal, the party’s state unit chief G Parameshwara and Bengaluru in-charge Minister K J George, among others were present at the event.
Though it was initially proposed to have 198 canteens launched by the Independence Day, the number was later brought down to 125 owing to constrains related in getting land for construction of canteens in all the wards. A total of 27 kitchens will be set up across the city to cater to these canteens, of which 14 are ready and six are currently in working condition. According to officials, the canteens as of now will serve 500 plates of food, keeping in mind the budgetary.