Mysuru: After Anna Bhagya scheme of the State Government, Indira Canteen is another ambitious scheme that has received good response. Though Opposition parties are criticising the government that this programme was launched in view of the forthcoming Assembly elections, there are many who say that it is helping the poor in fighting hunger.
In spite of all the flak, the fact remains that the government, by spending public money and through Indira Canteens, is providing subsidised food for the needy. Financial experts say that canteens are a useful response to high inflation. Fixed price meals can protect the urban poor from the brunt of inflation, they say.
People from all castes, creed, gender and economic classes descend on canteens. From a small businessman, a truck driver and an auto rickshaw driver to schoolchildren, teachers and college students, all shades of people are visible in the canteen premises.
The low cost of food, coupled with the promise of taste and hygiene, has managed to spike the citizens’ curiosity. While few of them are unsure of second visits, they recommend that people should try the food at least once.
The Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) is also playing a big role by providing water, underground drainage and electricity connection, apart from overseeing cleanliness.
In the reality check conducted by SOM on Shantinagar Double Road opposite Beedi Hospital in Ward 54, nearly 500 people eat breakfast every day and about 430 to 450 people have lunch and dinner.
It was seen that hut-dwellers, autorickshaw drivers, Beedi workers and small-time businessmen consume food here. However, since the quantity of rice and sambar (300 gm) served is not sufficient for many, they buy two tokens paying Rs.20.
“The rice and sambar is tasty but the curd rice becomes stale. The quantity is less. If I purchase one token it will not fill my stomach,” daily wager Anwar Pasha said.
“In the morning, if I come even ten minutes late, the breakfast is over. If they extend the timing by another half-an-hour it would benefit a lot of people,” said B.S. Venkatesh, a resident of Bharat Nagar, who runs a petty shop.
In the People’s Park in Ward 64 where the canteen is located in Govt. PU College for Girls premises, it is mostly PU College students who have breakfast and lunch. Even a few of the autorickshaw drivers, those working in the Maharaja-Complex shops and establishments also make use of the facility, said the staff working in the Canteen.
PUC students Kausalya and Deepika shared their thoughts and said that when one pays so little for the food, it is too much to expect very tasty food.
The scene in the canteen in Cheluvamba Hospital is impressive as the canteen is full all the three times. Even though there are many canteens and food carts around, the response to Indira Canteens is very good.
However, due to leakage of RO (Reverse Osmosis) Plants in all the canteens, it is very difficult to clean the vessels and since the problem has been brought to the notice of the Deputy Commissioner, steps are being taken to rectify it. The work on the compound of all the canteens is going on and it is likely to be completed in another 15 days, said Corporation Officials.