Bengaluru: The government’s plans to open another 97 Indira Canteens across the state on October 2 on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti in addition to the 101 already operating in the city, could come unstuck due to lack of land in most wards and other problems, according to official sources.
With officials of various departments struggling to keep the canteens in the city that opened on August 16, running smoothly, they have reportedly not been able to pay attention to the opening of 97 more by next month. The government is however, said to be keen on opening around 500 canteens in all across the state by November 1 as a gift to the people on the Kannada Rajyotsava day. It hopes to have these canteens up and running in educational institutions,its own hospitals, and offices of deputy commissioners, among other places.
But with little clarity yet on the availability of buildings, their location, bulk food suppliers and more importantly, the canteens’ management and maintenance, there is apprehension that its new deadline may be highly unrealistic. “Unlike in Bengaluru, we need to depend on various departments for renovating the existing canteens. And we are still not clear whether the food will be prepared elsewhere and supplied to the canteens or whether their owners will prepare it themselves. We may get hardly a month to work out all this as the ministers and their departments officers will be busy with the 10-day Dasara festival in Mysuru. So it may be difficult to open 500 more canteens in 30 days,” say officers.
Recalling the difficulty that the BBMP had in setting up the canteens in Bengaluru despite all the help at hand, they note that there are still complaints from the general public about the quality and quantity of food served.
Seeing the trouble in running the canteens in Bengaluru, a Minister suggests that the government should opt for mobile Indira canteens in the districts to save money on construction/renovation of buildings and avoid complications. “Even identification of places for opening the canteens could become a big problem as every legislator wants one in his constituency to woo voters,” he points out.