Related Stories

Rs 5 meal feeds poor, also police

DC CORRESPONDENT
Published Sep 11, 2014, 6:13 am IST
Updated Mar 31, 2019, 5:38 am IST
Organisers seek security at meal centres, report frequent fights
People queue up at the Rs 5 meal counter near the Nampally railway station in Hyderabad on Wednesday. (Photo: DC/File)
 People queue up at the Rs 5 meal counter near the Nampally railway station in Hyderabad on Wednesday. (Photo: DC/File)
Hyderabad: A trip to the GHMC’s Rs 5-a-meal centre will surprise anyone due to the sheer contrasts it presents. Homeless people and drunkards, looking for cheap food, rub shoulders with traffic cops, home guards, autorickshaw drivers, civic workers and other regular working class folks who can afford a relatively expensive meal. 
 
With eight centres currently being operated across the city, the number of people getting meals at these centres has increased a lot. Gudimalkapur, Mehdipatnam, Koti, Sanathnagar, LB Nagar, Nampally, Secunderabad Clock Tower and Charminar centres function from 12 noon to 2 pm. The GHMC will soon add 50 more centres to the list. 
 
The Akshaya Patra Foundation (under Iskcon), which supplies mid-day meals to schools, is distributing food to these centres as well. This Rs 11-crore project provides food at a low cost to about 3,500 people across the city every day.
 
The GHMC pays Rs 15 as subsidy, the Akshaya Patra pay Rs 2.50 and citizens pay Rs 5 per serving. The collection at each counter goes to the Foundation. GHMC has also appointed people at each place to serve, supply water and clean the place. 
 
The meal centre at Nampally used to get about 150 people in March 2014, when it was launched. Today, at least 500 people queue up every day. There is a mixed group of people, travellers boarding the afternoon trains at Nampally, home guards, clerical officers, women labourers, rag pickers and about 50 homeless people at the place all the time. This brings with it unique challenges.
 
“Some people create a lot of trouble for us. They argue and fight and also hit others. Some do not even pay the Rs 5 charged for a meal. We want police security at least between 12 noon and 2.30 pm,” said Madhu Yadav, the supervisor at the centre. 
 
In contrast, at the Secunderabad Clock Tower, about 150 people queue up, collect their food and sit on the footpath and eat without any hassle. Not too many women visit this centre. However, many autorickshaw drivers eat here. 
 
Mohammed Iqbal, an autorickshaw driver sometimes even pays for a few others. “The money that I save by eating here, helps me buy vegetables for home and pay my kids’ school fees. I save about Rs 45 on meals every day, which amounts to Rs 1,200 a month,” he said.  
 
Raju, a destitute who sleeps at the Clock Tower, however, feels that the government should do this for free. “They forced me to vote, took away my money and now I have to beg for food. Instead of roaming about in expensive cars, they must give us food for free,” he said. 
...
Location: Telangana




ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
-->