Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 31:
Encouraged by the popularity of the subsidised cooked food served at busy locations in five urban centres across Odisha, the state government has decided to extend the ‘Aahar’ scheme to district headquarters and industrial townships in a phased manner.
A decision in this regard was taken at a high-level meeting held at the state secretariat under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
For the expansion of the scheme, it was decided to form societies which would be headed by Chief Secretary and Collectors at state and district level respectively. The scheme would be implemented at the district headquarters and industrial hubs with the help of funding agencies.
The centres would be opened at district headquarters hospitals and industrial townships in a phased manner depending on the requirement after conducting a survey, an official said.
“We are contemplating extension of ‘Aahar’ centres to other cities across the state with the help of funding and eligible agencies. The scheme is running successfully at five cities. We are looking into infrastructure shortcomings like—ramp for handicapped persons, installation of CCTV cameras, fitting of glazed tiles, maintaining cleanliness and hygiene and running water facility among others. The Chief Minister has instructed to fulfil the requirements within a month’s time,” Urban Development Minister Pushpendra Singhdeo said.
Besides Urban Development Minister, Chief Secretary GC Pati and other senior officials attended the meeting.
Notably, there are around 21 ‘Aahar’centres operating in five cities in the state. These outlets cater to around 22, 000 people on a daily basis.
The subsidised food having rice and dalma in the menu is sold at Rs 5 during lunch time. ‘Aahar’ centres have been opened at places like hospitals, railway stations, bus stops and other busy points where commuters from across the state come to the city for various purposes.
Presently, the scheme has been launched in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Brahmapur, Rourkela and Sambalpur.