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No More Free Meals at Bengaluru's Indira Canteens amid Lockdown, Subsidised Food To Remain Available

File photo of an Indira Canteen in Bengaluru.

File photo of an Indira Canteen in Bengaluru.

The BS Yediyurappa government decided to roll back the order on free meals stating that several people were misusing the facility and questions regarding the quality of food were being raised.

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Stacy Pereira

Bengaluru: The BS Yediyurappa government on Friday decided to stop its free meal services at state-run Indira Canteens in Bengaluru. However, the canteens would continue to operate and serve food at the regular nominal rates.

After several flip-flops on the matter, the government had earlier decided to distribute free food from 19 existing Indira canteens in the city during the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus.

On March 28, the government put out a list of the 19 canteens that would be serving the free meals to poor people.

However, on Friday, it decided to roll back the order stating that several people were misusing the facility and questions regarding the quality of food were also being raised.

Addressing press conference, Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar said the government is providing BPL card-holding families and others with free ration and hence, there is no need to further provide free food.

“We are continuing with the old system where you pay and eat. Our government has provided each and every family with enough ration so that they can cook in their own house. To prevent misuse (of the canteens), this has been done. Migrant workers will be provided food by the labour department," said Deputy CM Ashwath Narayan.

Reports suggest one of the reasons behind the government’s meals is the inflated bills that contractors were submitting to the civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) against the free meals.

Indira canteens provide meals at subsidised rates of Rs 5 for breakfast and Rs 10 for lunch and dinner.

Since the lockdown was imposed, many essential service providers like sanitation workers and delivery agents have been depending on the canteens for their daily meals.


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