New Delhi: Fresh hot-cooked food will once again be served in Parliament House with decks being cleared for installing piped natural gas (PNG) there to ensure safety of the heritage building from fire.
A Parliamentary panel chaired by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Monday decided to make a recommendation to this effect.
Previous Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar had reportedly ordered the kitchen to shut down saying it was a "security hazard" due to the large number of gas cylinders. Since then, food has been cooked outside and then brought to Parliament building.
The issue of members being unable to digest "stale food" was raised in Parliament many times especially in 2014. The matter was even raised during Monsoon session that year in the Rajya Sabha as a "point of order" by Janata Dal United member KC Tyagi, who said Samajwadi Party members Ramgopal Yadav and Jaya Bachchan had fallen ill after having food at Parliament canteen.
Government had offered to look into the matter then.
The Committee on Installation of Potraits/Statues of National Leaders and Parliamentarians in Parliament House Complex chaired by Mahajan that met on Monday decided that PNG gas will be installed in Parliament House building, which will ensure the supply of fresh hot cooked food to members, journalists and security staff of Parliament.
The panel's meeting was also attended by Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Rajya Sabha MP from the same party K Rahman Khan and BJD's B Mahtab.
The Committee also decided inauguration of two more conference halls in Parliament building besides some other amenities like providing additional bathrooms for ladies.
Sources said that today's meeting was confined to food and civic amenities issues and hence the issue creating additional space in Parliament including construction of a new Parliament House did not come up for discussion.
In December 2015, a decision has already been taken to revise the rates of food items served in Parliament in the wake of controversies over hugely subsidised costs of eatables in times of ballooning prices.
Subsidy outgo on Parliament canteen is Rs 4 crore annually. On an average 8 per cent of food is consumed by MPs, 9 per cent by media, while staff and security personnel consume 50 per cent. Visitors and official meetings account for the remaining.
The revision of the rates, ordered by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, was undertaken after six years and will be reviewed from time to time, Lok Sabha Secretariat had then