Bengaluru: Iskcon's (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) Akshaya Patra Foundation opened a massive kitchen in Karnataka's Mandya to feed a whopping 20,000 children at state-run schools in Mandya and Mysuru districts under the mid-day meals scheme, said its official on Monday.
"The hi-tech kitchen will serve freshly cooked, nutritious and tasty mid-day meals to about 20,000 students six days a week in government schools across Mandya and Mysuru districts," said Foundation chairman Madhu Pandit Dasa on the occasion.
Mandya is about 100 km southwest of Bengaluru towards Mysuru.
Mandya's Independent Lok Sabha member Sumalatha Ambareesh, Iskon Mysuru president Jai Chaitnya Dasa, Srirangapatna assembly segment legislator Ravindra Srikantaiah were also present at the event.
Lauding the Foundation for serving mid-day meals to 18-lakh children in their schools across the country every week, the multi-lingual south Indian actress-turned-lawmaker said thousands of students would get nutritious food prepared hygienically.
"I request the Foundation to open more kitchens in the old Mysuru region to benefit more children from the state-run mid-day meal scheme," Sumalatha said.
Sumalatha won in the April-May Lok Sabha elections for the first time, defeating Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) candidate Nikhil Gowda, son of former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and grandson of JD-S supremo H.D. Deve Gowda, with the backing of the ruling BJP.
Besides students in state-run schools, the Foundation will feed about 600 wards of Anandalwar High School at Mahadevapura in the district 6 days a week.
The kitchen also provides jobs to hundreds of locals for being a part of its supply chain from cooking to serving girls and boys in schools across the two districts.
"Mid-day meals act as a stimulus for children to go to school and continue education. It has been our endeavour to reach and serve more children," Dasa told the gathering, including students, teachers and parents.
The centralised and partly mechanised kitchen has the capacity to prepare 20,000 meals at a time. The facility is equipped with a roti-making machine, cold storage, an effluent treatment plant for wastewater treatment and a blender for rice fortification.
Adhering to the practice of serving food in accordance to the local palate, hot bisibelebath, rice, sambar, upma, payasam, kesari bath, vegetable khootu (sabji), curd, khara pongal and cornflakes will be served to the students in a cyclic manner.
The city-based not-for-profit Foundation is one of the registered organisations which has been implementing the state-run scheme since 2000, leveraging technology to feed 18-lakh children in 16,856 schools across 12 states and two Union territories in the country in partnership with the central and state governments through the year.