Overriding the tendering process, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is keen on handing over the management of the Indira canteens to Iskcon.
“We have submitted a proposal to the Urban Development Department (UDD) suggesting that the Indira canteens can be managed by Iskcon,” said Thulasi Maddineni, BBMP Special Commissioner (Finance).
Speaking about the decision, Thulasi said that the BBMP was not satisfied with the contractor’s performance.
“We have seen what happened when we invited tenders and handed over the management of the Indira canteens to them. These canteens were opened for a noble cause and we need a partner who can work selflessly along with the BBMP. Considering the way they (Iskcon) are supplying food to the Pourakarmikas and school children, we believe that they can manage the facility better,” said Thulasi Maddineni.
Senior BBMP officials said that the decision was made following complaints of poor quality food being served in these canteens.
Though the BBMP is keen on bringing Iskcon on board, it may result in an additional financial burden.
“We pay Rs 55 a day now which includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner. From 2017 to now, prices of all the essentials have gone up. Iskcon has quoted Rs 78. We may not be able to pay so much, we will negotiate,” Thulasi said.
She added that the beneficiaries will however not be burdened. “The beneficiaries will continue to pay Rs 5 for breakfast and Rs 10 for lunch. The additional burden will be taken by the BBMP,” she said.
Amid comments that the taste of the food may not be satisfactory since Iskcon refrains from using garlic and onion, Thulasi said that they have been assured of tasty and quality food.
Change in system
The BBMP has also proposed to change the way the operations at these canteens go on. So far, the contractors were collecting the payments from beneficiaries and BBMP would pay the additional cost. Going ahead, BBMP wants to use marshals to provide tokens and collect the subsidised charges from beneficiaries. “This will also allow us to get an exact count of the number of plates sold,” Thulasi said.