With the assembly elections in sight, canteens are not going anywhere away from Karnataka politics.
With the Indira Canteens being an instant hit, though after some initial hurdles, CM Siddaramaiah will now inaugurate the first mobile Indira Canteen in Bengaluru on Republic Day.
BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad said that 24 such units will be functional in wards where the Palike has failed to build the subsidised food outlets due to shortage of space.
“These are state-of-the-art canteens, equipped with CCTV cameras and GPS. They also have an overhead tank, a drinking water tank and an underground sump. The used water will be collected in the underground sump and dispensed when it reaches the final destination,” said Manoj Rajan, special commissioner, Indira Canteens told media persons.
With this, the BBMP expects that all the 198 wards in the city will have functioning Indira Canteens after the first such outlet was inaugurated by the CM on Independence Day last year.
In March 2017, in his address during the state budget, Siddaramaiah had announced setting up of Namma Canteens in the state capital Bengaluru, along the lines of the Amma Canteens introduced in Tamil Nadu by the late CM J Jayalalithaa.
The CM announced that 198 Namma Canteens in Bengaluru will serve breakfast and lunch for just Rs 5 and Rs 10 in a bid to win the masses. It was only later that the canteens were re-christened after the former PM, Indira Gandhi.
After missing multiple deadlines, currently the Indira Canteens functioning in the city have proved to be a success with 1 crore meals served in just two months.
Owing to the success of the initiative, the Karnataka government later decided to add 300 more canteens, which will be located in all district headquarters.
The scheme has also earned the ruling Congress good press from international media.
The JDS also came up with its version called Appaji Canteens (named after former PM and party chief HD Deve Gowda) sensing the potential political mileage in the idea.