Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 2:
Come April, the urban denizens in five cities in Odisha would be able to savour lunch packs at affordable price as the state government is all set to rollout ‘Aahar’ scheme for the targeted populace.
As per the scheme, the government would provide Rs five a meal to urban poor in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Sambalpur, Berhampur and Rourkela of the state. The menu of the vegetarian meal comprises plain rice and Dalma (a combination of lentil and vegetables).
Taking a cue from Tamil Nadu, the state government has decided to open Aahar centres (canteen) at bus-stands, railway stations, Collectorate and hospitals in these five urban locations.
The decision in this regard was taken at a high level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here today.
The poor people visiting these cities can avail the Rs 5 a meal at these food joints during lunch time while the government would make necessary arrangement to provide food to 25,000 people each day, said a release of Chief Minister’s Office (CMO).
While the Food Supply and Consumer Welfare department and Urban Development department would provide necessary infrastructure, corporate houses would provide assistance and non-government organisations having experience in lunch programmes would manage the centres under the scheme, sources said.
The scheme would be extended to other urban areas in the coming years depending on the success of the scheme in the said cities, an official said.
It is expected that it would be a hit among the working urban poor.
“These initiatives have been accused of being ‘populist’, but this model of providing affordable cooked food in urban areas ensure food security and also keep food prices in check,” an official said.