Mysore/Mysuru: The much-hyped ‘Upahara Bhagya’ (breakfast scheme) mooted and implemented by the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) to provide breakfast to over 2,400 Pourakarmikas engaged in cleaning work has hit a roadblock. The Council has decided to cancel the tender of the breakfast scheme and a decision to this effect was taken in the monthly meeting of the MCC held recently.
The scheme was cancelled as a few members raised the issue saying that the quality of breakfast was very poor. They alleged that it is adversely affecting the health of the civic workers.
Many Pourakarmikas leave home early in the morning for work, mostly skipping breakfast as they do not have time to prepare the same. With cleanliness taking the topmost priority in city, the role of Pourakarmikas in achieving the same cannot be quantified. Hence, the MCC came out with the scheme to provide breakfast to the Pourakarmikas to energise them. But unfortunately, the scheme has been cancelled now due to quality issue and health concerns.
The MCC has 2,208 Pourakarmikas on its rolls (2018-19), including 560 regular and 1,648 outsourced. The breakfast scheme for the Pourakarmikas was launched in November 2019 and there was also a plan to credit breakfast allowance at Rs. 20 per day to the accounts of every civic worker attached to the MCC, both regular and outsourced. During the debate at the meeting, several Corporators demanded direct cash transfer to the accounts of Pourakarmikas.
The MCC started breakfast scheme through Government-run Indira Canteens from Sep.30, 2018. But the scheme was suspended after the MCC began to receive numerous complaints on the quality and quantity of food served. On Nov. 15 last year, the scheme was relaunched through online tenders. MCC Commissioner Gurudatta Hegde told at the meeting that the scheme was implemented as per the directions of the State Government and cash cannot be given directly.
Health officer Dr. M.S. Jayanth informed that the food is tested before serving to Pourakarmikas. The breakfast online tender was fixed at Rs. 1.83 crore by the Government and the lowest bid was done by Rao Raghubir Singh Seva Samithi at Rs. 1.74 crore. When the issue of payment to the Samithi came up, Corporators, cutting across party lines demanded that the payment must be withheld as the Samithi supplied substandard food.
After a long debate, Mayor Tasneem informed the Council that the matter will be referred to the MCC Standing Committee on Health. The meeting later approved incentive to Pourakarmikas who worked extra hours as part of the Swachh Survekshan-2020.
Stadium renaming controversy
The meeting also witnessed heated debate over naming the auditorium inside Subbarao Garden in Nivedithanagar after Prof. K.S. Rangappa, former Vice Chancellor of University of Mysore and Karnataka State Open University.
Raising their voice against the proposal, Congress and BJP members cited pending corruption case FIRs at Jayalakshmipuram Police Station and investigations against Rangappa. They felt that naming the auditorium after Rangappa could send a wrong message to the society as the former VC has to come clean on the charges against him.
If Congress and BJP members opposed the proposal, JD(S) members supported it. Finally it was decided to refer the matter to the Mayor. It was announced at the meeting that former Mayor Ayub Khan has been selected as the leader of Congress group while M.U. Subbaiah has been selected as the leader of Opposition in the Council.