Bengaluru, Aug 16 (IANS) Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday inaugurated Indira Canteens here for the poor, saying even the “poorest and the weakest in the city cannot go hungry”.
“Many people in Bengaluru live in huge houses, drive rich cars and for them food is not an issue. But millions of people here are construction workers, auto-rickshaw drivers and barbers who do not have enough money. The Indira Canteens will serve these people,” Gandhi said while inaugurating the canteen at Jayanagar ward with an apparent eye on the assembly elections slated for early 2018.
“We want the poorest and the weakest in the city to know that they cannot go hungry. Our intention is that the quality of food and hygiene at this canteen is the same as the most expensive restaurant in the city.”
The state government plans to take the canteens to every district in Karnataka to make sure that no person in the state remains hungry, the Congress leader said, committing the faux pas of referring to the canteen as ‘Amma Canteen’.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had provided Rs 100 crore in the state budget for this fiscal (2017-18) to run the canteens in all the 198 civic wards on the lines of the popular Amma Unavagam in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, started by late J. Jayalalithaa, the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
The subsidised food outlets had hugely popularised the former AIADMK leader among the masses in Tamil Nadu.
Along with the Chief Minister, city Mayor G. Padmavathi, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President G. Parameshwara and other party leaders, Gandhi inspected the canteen named after his grandmother and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Besides the one in Jayanagar, 100 other canteens will be opened on Wednesday for dinner, which will be served free of cost to everyone on the first day, the Chief Minister said in a statement, calling the launch a “historic day” for Karnataka.
In the initial phase of the launch, 101 canteens will daily serve vegetarian breakfast at Rs 5 per plate and lunch and dinner at Rs 10 each in 101 civic wards.
“Today is a historic day for Karnataka in our fight against hunger and malnutrition with Indira Canteens getting launched across Bengaluru,” Siddaramaiah said.
“Indira Canteens will play a significant role in alleviating urban hunger, especially helping the working class and migrant labour,” he said.
More canteens will be opened in the remaining 97 wards from October 2 to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.