Indira Canteens face uncertain future for lack of funds

Indira Canteens face uncertain future for lack of funds

If funds are not released, the canteens will join the list of projects doomed by political recklessness.

Indira Canteens are no longer tasty enough for the state’s netas. The canteens are on the brink of closure with the cash-strapped BBMP throwing up its hands citing lack of funds. 

If funds are not released, the canteens will join the list of projects doomed by political recklessness.

The canteens were started two years ago with much fanfare by the led Congress government to provide food for the underprivileged at affordable rates.

But the project fell out of favour after the Congress-JD(S) coalition government came to power, since no funds were released. The BBMP’s financial woes have not helped matters either.

“The government was supposed to earmark Rs 210 crore between 2019 and 2020 to run the canteens. I have written letters three times in the last few months but no money has been sanctioned. With the BBMP having no cash, the fate of canteens is uncertain,” said Manjunath Prasad, BBMP commissioner.

According to BBMP data, over 14.47 crore people have eaten at the canteens in the last two years.

Laying out the statistics, Prasad said “between 2018 and 2019, Rs 145 crore was allocated but only Rs 115 crore was released by the government”. “But the total expenditure came up to Rs 137 crore. This year, there are no funds at all,” said Prasad.

Mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun said the Congress government had promised funds in the supplementary budget. “This is not a question about which government started it. The only concern is about the poor. I have hope that the new government will take the project forward,” she said, 
adding that the project would not be scrapped at any cost.

“As it is state government’s project, the BBMP was hopeful that the government itself will grant funds to run the canteens,” the mayor said. 

According to some council members, the BBMP is considering running the project under one of its welfare schemes.

 

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