Canteen politics has begun in Karnataka. To rival the Congress government’s ambitious Indira Canteens project, opposition JD(S) is planning to open its own canteens across Bengaluru.
Named after JD(S) Supremo HD Deve Gowda, who is popularly known as ‘Appaji’ among party members, Namma Appaji Canteen is all set to begin operations by the end of this month.
“We have decided to launch one canteen first, tentatively by July 28, even before the Congress government opens Indira Canteens,” said JD(S) MLC TA Saravana.
The first canteen will be set up in Hanumathanagar and the JD(S) has rented a building in the area. MLC TA Saravana will be bearing the cost of setting up this canteen.
“This is just a pilot project. We want to open one canteen and see what are the pros and cons, so that the other canteens which will come up in due course, do not run into operational or technical issues,” Saravana added.
JD(S) claims it will open canteens in 28 Assembly constituencies initially and later across various districts in Karnataka.
“This is going to be a model canteen. We expect a footfall of at least 1,000 people per day. If the project succeeds, then plans will be on to start canteens in other wards too. There are so many people who cannot afford good quality food. These canteens will be priced similar to Indira Canteens,” Saravana added.
Namma Appaji Canteen in Hanumanthanagar will be open from 7.30 am to 2.30 pm. The canteen will be open at night based on the footfall and people’s response to the quality and quantity of food.
“If it is successful, then it will be open all night,” Saravana said.
Namma Appaji canteens will serve two idlies and one vada for Rs 5. Tea and coffee are price at Rs 3 and a meal consisting of ragi mudde (millet-based Karnataka delicacy) rice and sambar will cost Rs 10. Karabath and Kesaribath are priced at Rs 5, while Pongal and Bisibelebath will cost Rs 10.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had set August 15 as the deadline for opening Indira Canteens across 198 wards in Bengaluru. However, the state government’s project is in danger of not meeting the deadline.
Out of 198 wards, work on constructing the canteen space has begun only in 38 wards and the approval for construction has been given only for 75 wards.
While completion of 198 canteens in three weeks seems unrealistic, BBMP officials are of the view that they will meet the August 15 deadline.