Daily wage workers and others from economically weaker sections will be served free meals at Indira Canteens in Bengaluru throughout the day, the state government has announced.
This comes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Monday told reporters that this arrangement will be in place until further orders.
Indira Canteens, introduced in 2017-18 budget by the then Siddaramaiah-led state government, was aimed at giving subsidised meals to the urban poor in every ward. According to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), there are 191 Indira Canteens spread across 198 wards of the city.
BBMP Commissioner BH Anil Kumar has also tweeted, confirming the free meals scheme.
Further CM Yediyurappa has warned that those disobeying the lockdown orders in the state will be dealt with strictly. A detailed government order will be issued later in the evening if the restrictions are strengthened further.
In an order passed by the government on Sunday, nine districts in Karnataka including rural and urban Bengaluru were put under a stringent lockdown until March 31. The other districts where this applies include Dakshina Kannada, Mysuru, Kalaburagi, Dharwad, Chikkaballapura, Kodagu and Belagavi.
As part of this, all commercial activities have been asked to be shut down and only essential commodities like medicines, milk, fish, vegetables and meat are to be sold.
Further on Sunday, the state government also decided to close its borders with the neighbouring states to restrict inter-state movement of people. Karnataka has a common border with Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.
Intra-district and interstate bus and railway services have been shut till the end of the month. The Namme Metro in Bengaluru will also not run from 10 am to 4 pm till March 31.
A partial shutdown had already been in effect in Karnataka from March 16, under which all educational institutes, malls, theaters, bars were ordered to be shut.
People living in cities and towns have been advised not to visit their villages in the state or other states.
(With IANS inputs)