By Vanita Arora
A year on, since Annapurna Akshayapatra Yojana was started in Chandigarh in January 2017, the demand for food packets worth just Rs 10 is increasing day by day. In the beginning, the target was of distributing 500 food packets, comprising six chapatis and vegetables, among needy people and at present, 3,500 packets are being distributed everyday. But, the authorities are targeting to distribute 5,000 packets everyday.
Project coordinator S S Saini said they will have to increase the production of food packets to 5,000 to meet the expectations of the residents of Chandigarh. “Initially, we started distributing the food packets at merely five locations and at present, we are distributing at 16 places. The food packets are distributed twice a day, noon and night.”
Annapurna Akshayapatra Yojna is a project initiated by Indian Red Cross Society, Chandigarh, to provide affordable, hygienic and nutritious diet to people. Under the project, a kitchen shed has been erected at Karuna Sadan Building, Sector 11-B, Chandigarh, at a total cost of Rs70 lakh. The kitchen is equipped with a machine, which can make dough and generate hundreds of chappatis in a one row. There are 20 workers.
Saini, said they have also decided to increase the number of workers and officials of Red Cross Society are being consulted for hiring more people. “The project is getting popular among homeless and needy people,” said the coordinator.
Anamika Mishra, kitchen supervisor, said they need more working women.
“From 500 food packets to 3,500, it shows the rate of success of the scheme. Each food packet consists six chapatis and cooked vegetables.”
During the daytime, food packets are delivered to OPD, Nehru hospital in PGI, Motor Markets in sectors 38 and 48, Grain Market in Sector 26, GMSH-16 and Civil Hospital in Sector 22.
In night, the food is supplied to Grain Market-26, railway station, Labour Chowk, Ramdarbar, Colony Number-4, Rain Basera in Sector 17, Dhanas village and other places.
Saini added some people directly come to the kitchen to get the food packets.
“All efforts are being made to keep the food hygienic. We try out best to provide fresh meal to people. We also request the customers, who mostly belong to below poverty line (BPL) section, to throw the empty packets in dustbins” said Saini.
The project is sustaining well on a budget of Rs 10 lakh per month.