The Maha Vikas Aghadi government's ambitious Shiv Bhojan scheme — a meal at Rs 10 — has found hungry takers. On the first day, January 26, 11,147 plates, as against a target of 18,000 plates per day, were served in 122 canteens spread over 35 districts. On January 27, 13,500 plates were served.
The scheme, launched on an experimental basis, could not take off in Yavatmal due to code of conduct for the legislative council election.
The meal is served between 12 pm and 2 pm in the canteens identified by the state government. They are supposed to serve 500 plates per day. Initially, 50 outlets/canteens have been opened, and the government wants to increase this number in due course. The lunch plates or ‘thalis’ comprise two chapattis, one vegetable sabzi, rice and dal.
The Food and Civil Supplies is the nodal department for the implementation of the scheme across the state. The Shiv Sena, which now leads the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, had promised this scheme in its poll manifesto. It is similar to the Amma Unavagam scheme in Tamil Nadu and Indira Canteen in Karnataka.
“The goal of the scheme is to provide affordable and quality food at Rs 10 per plate. The scheme has been started in district headquarters,” said Minister of Food and Civil Supplies Chhagan Bhujbal.
The minister informed that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and he will jointly hold a dialogue through web link with a few Shiv Bhojan canteen operators on Tuesday.
Bhujbal said the department gets the update on the number of plates served in these canteens through an app. He also informed that the government has earmarked Rs 6.48 crore for three months for the scheme and it will be increased considering the response from people. A dept official said while the customer gets a plate at Rs 10, its actual cost is Rs 50 in urban areas and Rs 35 in rural areas. The government is giving the balance amount as grant to the district collectorate. He informed that the demand is quite high in urban areas compared to rural.