The Maharashtra government has decided to introduce takeaway service in its Shiv Bhojan outlets across the state for safety of beneficiaries. The Shiv Bhojan scheme, which provides Rs 10 meals, was discontinued in most places across the state since the lockdown began in March, but offered at some places for Rs 5. The government recently allowed dine-in facility at restaurants and eating joints by restricting sitting capacity to 50 per cent.
An officer from the district administration said new guidelines have been issued to Shiv Bhojan centres on how to operate in this latest phase of unlockdown.
“The instructions are that every beneficiary must be screened with a thermal gun at the entrance and anyone with body temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit should not be allowed to dine in the outlet. The person can however take away his or her meal.” Beneficiaries were earlier not allowed to take the meal outside the outlet.
The other instructions include maintaining a distance of one metre between two tables and every individual should be three feet away from all others.
Those cooking and serving meals have to frequently wash their hands with soap and using masks is compulsory for staff, he said, adding that the entire outlet has to be sanitised every day and proper ventilation has to be maintained. All cooking and serving utensils have to be disinfected, he added.
If possible, there should be separate entrance and exit gates for beneficiaries at the outlets and they should be provided hand wash facility with soap and sanitisers, he said. It is mandatory for beneficiaries to wear masks except while eating food, he added.
The state government had started the Shiv Bhojan scheme on January 1. Pune city along with Mumbai suburban area has the most beneficiaries of the scheme in the state. It has 1,000 beneficiaries in Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) area and 500 in Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) area.
The Rs 10 meal under the scheme includes two rotis, one vegetable, rice and dal. The government has declared that each district will have at least one outlet and food will be served only from noon to 2 pm.
The government provides a subsidy of Rs 40 per meal for the 18,000 meals in the state daily. State government employees cannot avail the benefit of the scheme. Every outlet can serve a minimum of 75 meals and a maximum of 150 per day.
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