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Cuttack (PTI): The low-cost lunch scheme for urban poor announced by Odisha government earlier this month would be rolled out in Cuttack from this April.
A tripartite agreement to this effect was inked between Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC), Odiaha Mining Corporation (OMC) and a private party (Touch Stone Foundation).
CMC Deputy Mayor Ajay Barik said the scheme, christened as ‘Aahar’ would be unveiled at four places in the city where a plate of Rice and Dalma (a vegetable mix with pulses) would be available at Rs 5.
“Initially, we have plans to prepare meals for 5,000 people between 12 noon and 3 PM”, Barik said.
Official sources said the actual meal would cost around Rs 20 but it would be subsidised with financial assistance from OMC, which is giving an assistance of Rs 54.60 lakh for the first three months. The Mining Corporation would also make another payment of Rs 60 lakh towards transportation and other expenses, the sources said.
In Cuttack, Aahar would be available at two hospitals — SCB hospital and Sisu Bhawan (paediatrics hospital) – and at Badambadi bus terminus and Malgodown, the biggest wholesale market of the state. The civic body food inspector would check the quality of the meal at all the four centres.
The scheme however, came under flak from Congress and BJP. Both the parties alleged that the low-cost meal is a cheap political stunt of the ruling BJD.
“After rice at Re 1 per kg, the meal at Rs 5 per plate is nothing but an attempt to make the people of the freeloaders”, city Congress chief Md Moqim said. The BJP too has criticised the scheme, which is likely to be extended to several other cities in the State.