Following the line of Tamil Nadu’s Amma’s Canteen, started by former chief minister Jayalalithaa, where idli is served at Rs 1 a piece, Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will soon introduce ‘Aahar’ scheme from this April, through which poor people coming to cities can avail lunch at Rs 5.
Under the scheme, the government would provide a meal for Rs 5 to the urban poor in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Sambalpur, Berhampur and Rourkela. The menu would comprise plain rice and dalma (a combination of dal and vegetables), payas and a few other food items that form part of staple Oriya lunch. Everyday, 25,000 people would be fed through such centres.
Corporate houses would provide assistance for the scheme while the state’s food supply and consumer welfare department and the urban development department would set up the necessary infrastructure.
Government sources said as poor people visiting different cities and towns for various works face difficulties in getting food due to high price, the ‘Aahar’ centres at bus stands, railway stations, hospitals and other crowded places would come to their rescue.
“People can avail the lunch at subsidised price. NGOs having experience in handling food related schemes will be assigned the job of distributing food to the poor in urban areas,” said Food and Supplies Minister Sanjay Dasburma.
Health inspectors of different municipal corporations would check quality of food being provided at the proposed ‘Aahar’ centres and different corporate houses would support the cheap food schemes in urban pockets, he said.
The cheap food scheme would be extended to other towns subsequently after reviewing the functioning of the ‘Aahar’ centres in the five cities.