Bengaluru's Indira Canteen initiative was set up by the Congress-led Karnataka government with the city's municipal corporation, apparently to end hunger in the city. But the seemingly well-meaning program has been in the news for the past few weeks, already in trouble.
No food safety licenses
The food served at these canteens has been outsourced to two caterers, Mumbai-based Cheftalk Food & Hospitality Pvt Ltd and Delhi-based NGO Rewards. While the caterers have received the necessary licenses and approvals, the canteen premises are also required to be licensed by the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India). Since the canteens don't have licenses, the FSSAI cannot inspect the canteen premises for quality, the Bangalore Mirror reported. The BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) is yet to apply for the relevant licenses.
The food, meant to serve people across socio-economic groups, is priced at Rs 5 for breakfast, and Rs 10 for lunch and dinner. The reasonable prices drew in crowds of almost 1500 at some locations. But the canteens, which were equipped only to cater to around 500 people, ran out of food quickly, leaving lines of hungry patrons dissatisfied, according to Hindustan Times. Another The Times of India report also suggested that of the 101 canteens inaugurated, only 71 were receiving food supply. This was because not all the kitchen houses were fully functional.
Canteen on a lake buffer zone?
One canteen at the Subramanyapura lake can possibly run into trouble with Bengaluru's NGT (National Green Tribunal), as according to Deccan Herald, the canteen is built in the lake's buffer zone, where construction is disallowed.
In what was termed as a populist move, the canteens were inaugurated on 16 August, by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, apparently, in a bid to set the ball rolling for the 2018 state elections. Gandhi's inauguration speech drew attention for fumbles that are now characteristic to the leader.
At a week old, the canteens' fumbles could just be teething troubles. Let's hope they fare better in the future!
Updated Date: Aug 23, 2017 19:50 PM