On the occasion of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s 93rd birthday, along with the Delhi Metro Magenta line, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led BJP unveiled one more gift for Delhiites. The civic bodies in the capital rolled out “Atal Jan Aahaar Kendra” centres on Monday, which provides a whole meal for just Rs 10. On Monday, six centres were launched in Okhla Mandi, Matiala chowk, Green Park/AIIMS, Raghubir Nagar, Kakraula Mor in Najafgarh and in Shalimar Bagh, promising subsidised lunches. As per a Times of India report, the North and South Corporations have also announced one such centre to be opened in every ward, while the East Corporation has put the scheme on hold due to severe financial crunch. The cubicles from which the food will be sold are of 9 feet by 5 feet in size and have been set up by the NGOs operating midday meal kitchens. They will remain open between noon and 2 pm on all seven days.
Coming to the menu of the food, the centres will provide four puris or 250g rice with 150g sabzi in one of these combinations — chhole-chawal, rajma-chawal, puri-sabzi, dalchawal, puri-chhole. The BJP civic bodies expect to sell around 500-700 plates every day. South Delhi mayor and BJP leader Kamaljeet Sehrawat expressed her delight over fulfilling an important promise of the election manifesto.
Notably, Uttar Pradesh government, earlier this year, had decided to start a subsidised food scheme – Annapurna Bhojnalaya (Annapurna canteen) – where poor and underprivileged people will get refreshments at Rs 3, and a full meal at Rs 5. The scheme promised 20 such canteens in Ghaziabad, 28 each in the state capital Lucknow and Kanpur and 18 in Gorakhpur. A total of 275 canteens was to be opened across the state at an estimated cost of Rs 153.59 crore. However, the project is yet to take off. AAP, too, had promised to open “Aam Aadmi canteens” but the project is yet to see the daylight. The most famous subsidised food canteen was floored by former Tamil Nadu chief minister Late Jayalalitha by the name of ‘Amma Canteen’.