The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike has filed a police complaint against two contractors who supply food for Indira Canteens, that are run by the civic body across the city. BBMP has accused the contractors of drawing excess subsidies from the government by cooking up false bills. They have also complained that the contractors supplied bad quality food.
Based on the complaint by the BBMP Joint Commissioner (Finance) Venkatesh, Halasurugate Police has filed a cheating case against the vendors – Cheftalk Food and Rural Environment & Water Assets Reproductive & Development Society (REWARDS).
Indira Canteen is a food subsidisation programme run by the Karnataka government for the urban poor. It was initiated by the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government and carried forward by the two subsequent Chief Ministers HD Kumaraswamy and BS Yediyurappa. While the BBMP runs the Indira canteens in Bengaluru, the Urban Development Department runs them outside the state capital.
While many have praised the setting up of Indira Canteens across the state to provide subsidised food, there have been previous occasions when the quality of the food and the administration of the canteens have been called into question especially by the BJP.
This is not the first time that allegations against contractors of Indira canteens has surfaced. Soon after Yediyurappa became the Chief Minister in mid-2019 he directed Karnataka Additional Chief Secretary of Urban Development Department, BH Anil Kumar, to probe into the alleged discrepancies in subsidies.
In July 2018, then Leader of Opposition at the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Council, Padmanabha Reddy alleged that there is a “large-scale scam”.
Citing bills for the month of January 2018, the BJP leader said that the canteens claimed to have had the same number of customers on January 25 when on the same day a strike was called on the issue of Mahadayi river water dispute. He questioned how the number of customers for a day of strike and any other date of the month be the same.
Halasurugate Police and BBMP could not be reached for a comment over the issue.