Updated: November 27, 2021 9:52:21 am
A day after Tamil Nadu Minister for Food and Civil Supplies R Sakkarapani said the state has planned to open 500 ‘Kalaignar Unavagams’ (Kalaignar canteens) named after former Chief Minister and DMK President M Kalaignar Karunanidhi, AIADMK coordinator O Panneerselvam said the move is an “attempt to blackout the Amma Unavagam scheme”.
Sakkarapani was speaking at a meeting convened by the Union Minister for Food and Public distribution Piyush Goyal to discuss the model community kitchen’s scheme to address hunger and malnutrition in the country.
He also asked the Union Government to extend 100 per cent financial assistance under the National Food Security Act, 2013, to run the 650 ‘Amma canteens’ which are run through the local bodies across the state.
The Amma Unavagam scheme, which was introduced by the AIADMK government under the tenure of late J Jayalalithaa in 2013, is considered as a flagship programme of AIADMK. The scheme to offer foods at a subsidised price to help the needy inspired other states like Odisha and Karnataka to propose similar initiatives.
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Taking to Twitter, Panneerselvam said while AIADMK has no objection to the current government naming schemes after Kalaignar, it is not in practice to have two different names for one scheme and it is not agreeable.
He urged Chief Minister M K Stalin to intervene and take necessary action to ensure that even in the future the scheme is run as Amma Unavagam.
Talking about the existing Amma canteens, Sakkarapani had said the canteens run in all the Government Medical College Hospitals and those in the district headquarters for the benefit of patients’ attendants and others. He said the community kitchens provide one idly for Rs 1, pongal for Rs 5, variety rice (sambar rice, curry leaves rice and lemon rice) for Rs 5 and curd rice for Rs 3 during the day and two chapatis with dal for Rs 3 in the evenings.
He added that in the last five months, more than 2.15 crore people were benefited through these canteens which includes 30,490 construction workers, including migrant workers.
“During the period of Covid and at the time of natural calamities, the food is served free of cost in these canteens,” he said.
The minister said in the 2021-22 financial year, till September, a total of 3,227 metric tonne rice and 362 tonne wheat have been used for this scheme.
“Approximately Rs 3,50,000 is being spent per Kitchen each month,” he added.
Establishing the Kalaignar canteens in 500 locations was a part of DMK’s poll promise ahead of the 2021 assembly election.
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