- Plates not washed using hot water as electric plugs need repair
- Food contractor alleges non-clearance of bills
- Demand comes down, one of the two centralised kitchens shut
Mysore/Mysuru: The Indira Canteens, which were set up by the previous Siddharamaiah-led Congress Government in early 2018 in the city as part of its ‘Hunger-free State’ project, aimed at providing food to the poor at a lower price, are now facing a deep existential crisis.
Currently, there are 11 Indira Canteens in city. Although all Hotels and Restaurants remained shut in the city during COVID-19 induced lockdown, most Indira Canteens remained opened in the city in order to serve food to the poor.
Post lockdown relaxations, Star of Mysore carried out a reality check to find out the functioning of the Canteens, during which it was discovered that the quality of food served was poor. Also, many Canteens are lacking in hygiene and cleanliness.
This apart, most of the Canteens have failed to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines such as wearing of face mask, use of hand sanitisers /soaps and thermal screening. Several Canteens were found wanting water and soaps used for handwash.
Most Canteens do not have hot water to be used for cleaning of vessels and utensils, although there is a rule that all used food plates must be cleaned in hot water.
The Indira Canteens on Jodi Tenginamara Road in Bannimantap, Rajkumar Road in Kalyanagiri and at CADA premises on Sayyaji Rao Road and Alanahalli, were found not using hot water for cleaning of vessels.
Most Canteens lack proper maintenance and as an example, electrical switch boards in several of them have come apart, thus cutting off the hot water line. Also, the drainage slab on the path to Indira Canteen on Dr. Rajkumar Road in Kalyanagiri has come apart, thus posing a hurdle to people who visit the canteen.
Apart from all these shortcomings, all Canteens are facing a financial crisis too as the Contractor who supplies food to the Canteens has not been paid bills by the Government for the past six months.
Channabasappa Reddy, a supervisor at an Indira Canteen in the city told SOM that the Canteens are finding it very difficult to run due to non-payment of bills in the past four months.
Dismissing complaints of poor quality of food, he said that despite the constraints, the Indira Canteens have maintained both quantity and quality of food served to the people. The Canteens are eagerly awaiting release of funds by the Government, he added.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that the number of people visiting the Canteens for food has come down by half post lockdown relaxations. Earlier, these Canteens which used to record a footfall of 15,000 to 16,000 people a day, are now witnessing just about 8,000 people, which means only half of what it was in the pre-lockdown days.
With the demand coming down, one of the two centralised kitchens has shut down recently. The centralised kitchen located near the PKTB Sanatorium has been shut down, while the only other centralised kitchen at Alanahalli is catering to the requirements of all the 11 Indira Canteens in city.