April 10, 2020 10:23:51 pm
In the light of the ongoing nationwide lockdown hitting poor residents and urban migrants adversely, the Shiv Bhojan Thali scheme has been expanded in Pune district with opening 43 new centres. While 40 new centres have been opened at taluka headquarters, three have been opened in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. The daily distribution target has also been revised from 3,000 thalis last month to 7,500 now.
Also, the Food Grain Distribution Officer (FDO) and District Supply Officer (DSO) have given strict instructions to contractors that the centres must remain operational and in no circumstances the food distribution be suspended during the lockdown.
With opening of new centres, the state now has a total of 579 centres distributing highly subsidised food. The overall target is to distribute 90,500 thalis per day. On Friday, 74,933 thalis were sold across the state, officials said.
On March 29, state Food and Civil Supplies Minister Chhagan Bhujbal had announced that the Shiv Bhojan Thali would be made available at Rs 5 per plate instead of the earlier rate of Rs 10. He had also announced a revision of the timings for the centres from 11am to 3pm against the earlier time slot of 12 noon to 2 pm. The changes would remain in force until the end of June.
“We have opened 40 new centres in rural areas since the announcement made by the minister. The centres are getting good response from residents and have been recording an average sale of 3,500 to 4,000 thalis so far,” said Bhanudas Gaikwad, District Supply Officer, Pune.
In the city areas, besides the 14 already functional centres, thee more are being added, said an official. “We have approved fresh centres at Aundh Government Hospital, Bhosari and Sangvi. Thus, now we will have 10 centres in Pune and seven in Pimpri-Chinchwad areas,” said Deepak Wajale, tehsildar and assistant Food Grains Distribution Officer.
In urban areas, contractors have been asked to ensure that the thalis are being sold as food parcels to ensure social distancing. At centres with low footfalls, operators have been instructed to parcel packed thalis to nearby areas, where there is a possibility of higher demand. “They are going to nearby slums, areas where migrant labourers stay or hostels and selling the food for Rs 5,” said Wajale.
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