Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s Rs 10 meal scheme will be launched across the state on January 26. The state administration has already identified several lunch homes around high footfall areas, such as public hospitals, industrial estates and bus stops. According to the scheme, the subsidised meals, ‘Shiv Bhojan’, are meant for the “poor and needy”.
Officials from the food and civil supply department said at least one eatery will be started in each district and municipal areas across the state. “The process to select the lunch homes as per the criteria has already been initiated and will be completed soon. We are planning to launch the scheme on January 26,” Principal Secretary Mahesh Pathak told The Indian Express.
An official said existing restaurants or hotels can be selected for the lunch homes if they fulfill the criteria. “For the initial phase for the of launch, we are not inviting applications from restaurants, hotels or NGOs. Our officials are identifying and will be selecting them for the initial phase,” the official said.
Officials also said that 39 lunch homes have been identified in Mumbai and Thane regions, but the initial plan is to launch one lunch home in each district. The lunch homes identified in Mumbai city include St George Hospital near CSMT, KEM Hospital in Parel, Nair Hospital in Mumbai Central and Sion Hospital among others, said an official.
“Most of these locations are near places of high footfall, including public hospitals, industrial estates, bus depots and municipal offices. To ensure that all of these meet fire safety and eating house norms, a team of civic officials, food and drug administration and civil supplies officials will now scrutinise each of these 39 lunch homes over the coming week,” said Kailash Pagare, controller of rationing and director of civic supplies, Mumbai.
According to officials, the full meal would include two chapatis, a vegetable bowl, rice and dal. The centres would operate between 12 pm and 2 pm and have arrangements to seat 25 people at a time. One lunch home will be able to serve minimum 75 thalis (plates) and maximum of 150. People will not be allowed to bring in outside meal at the lunch homes, nor will they be allowed to take food home, said an official.
After the farm loan waiver, the Rs 10 meal scheme was the other key promise of the Shiv Sena. It is also a part of the Common Minimum Programme prepared by the tripartite government of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress. In its poll manifesto, Sena had promised to open 1,000 such centres across the state, but it had not been given a name in either of the two documents.
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