At least four lakh people will be provided lunch and dinner from Saturday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said, announcing that the Delhi government has enhanced the capacity of feeding those in distress with the coronavirus pandemic bringing all economic activities to a halt.
So far, the government had been arranging hot cooked meals for around 20,000 people daily at around 220 night shelters across the city, but now the premises of 325 schools will also be utilised for this purpose.
The decision was taken with volunteers finding it increasingly difficult to serve the growing number of people thronging the shelters. At some shelters in the Yamuna pushta area, the rush has been simply overwhelming, and the numbers were only increasing by the day.
On March 26, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) issued an order, directing every District Magistrate to make arrangements for feeding at least 2,000 people in every municipal ward, preferably in schools or community centres, to be notified as food centres or hunger relief centres.
“Menu for the meals will be Jan Aahar menu and maximum price payable by the government for each meal is capped at Rs 20 per person per meal or ‘Jan Aahar’ rates, whichever is minimum. To begin with, all the district magistrates may identify two suitable locations in every municipal ward falling within their jurisdiction, preferably a school or community centre, which should function as food centres/Hunger relief centres,” the order states.
The DMs can arrange the meals taking the assistance of charitable organisations or by roping in agencies involved in providing mid-day meals or NGOs. “At every such centre, the concerned agency shall arrange for 500 meals twice (lunch and dinner) per day as per the timings so notified by the DMs,” the order adds.
During the press briefing, Kejriwal also sought to reassure his counterparts in other states saying the Delhi government will take care of each and every individual in distress due to the lockdown. “No matter which state a person hails from, Jharkhand, Bihar or Tamil Nadu, they are our people too,” the CM said.