The Tamil Nadu government will open 500 Kalaignar Unavagams (Kalaignar canteens), named after the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and former DMK chief Kalaignar M Karunanidhi, Tamil Nadu Food Minister R Sakkarapani said on Thursday, November 25. In his address at a meeting in New Delhi, attended by Union Food Minister Piyush Goyal, on the model community kitchen scheme to address malnutrition and hunger in the country, he also asked the Union government to sponsor the 650 Amma canteens, that have been set up by the previous AIADMK government, under National Food Security Act.
"Approximately Rs 3.5 lakh is spent for a kitchen every month. To run this scheme and to sustain it successfully, we request the Union government to provide 100 per cent assistance under the National Food Security Act 2013, to extend all the needy people," Sakkarapani said. The previous AIADMK government had set up 650 Amma canteens through local bodies across the state to provide food at subsidised rate to the poor and needy. These canteens are also run in all government medical college hospitals and government hospitals located in the district headquarters for the benefit of the patients' attendants and bystanders.
The canteens serve idli at Re 1, pongal and rice at Rs 5, curd rice at Rs 3 during daytime, and chapati (2) and dal curry at Rs 3.
The minister said that during floods and calamities, Amma canteens provided food free of cost.
He also said that around 2.15 crore people benefitted from Amma canteens between June 1 and November 18 including construction workers and migrant workers, and on similar lines, Kalaignar canteens will also be opened. The Kalaignar canteens, modelled after late AIADMK Chief J Jayalalithaa's 'Amma Canteens,' were a part of the DMK's manifesto ahead of the 2021 Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections.