Tamil Nadu government to launch 500 Kalaignar Canteens

Launching of 'Kalaignar Unavagam' (canteens) is one of the poll promises of the DMK
Last Updated : 25 November 2021, 15:51 IST

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The Tamil Nadu government will launch Kalaignar Canteens across the state soon named after late Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, in addition to the existing Amma Canteens.

“It has been proposed to open an additional 500 such community kitchens to be called as Kalaignar Unavagam in the coming days,” Food Minister R Sakkarapani told a meeting organised by the Union Government to address hunger and malnutrition in the country.

Launching of Kalaignar Unavagam (canteen) is one of the poll promises of the DMK. However, the new DMK dispensation has been continuing with Amma Canteens launched by the then Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in 2013.

Amma Canteens have been hugely successful as they provide quality meals at an affordable price. The scheme served as inspiration for low-cost canteens across the country with several state governments implementing it.

In his speech, Sakkarapani said Tamil Nadu has been implementing the Universal Public Distribution System for more than 40 years, extending the umbrella of food security to all categories of people without discrimination of income or social status.

He also said the new DMK government distributed 14 grocery items at a cost of Rs 978 crore to all the 2.09 crore family card holders along with Rs 4,000 as Covid-19 relief. He also said the government will be providing 21 food items at an estimated cost of Rs 1,161 crore on the eve of Pongal festival in January 2022 to 2.15 crore family card holders.

On community kitchens, Sakkarapani said the government was running Amma Unavagam through local bodies in order to provide hygienic food at a subsidised price to benefit the poor and needy people.

“From 01.06.2021 to 18.11.2021, more than 2.15 crore people have been benefited through these community kitchens. 30,490 construction workers, including migrant labourers, have also been benefited under this scheme during the same period. During the Corona period and at the time of natural calamities, the food is served free of cost in these canteens,” he said.

On community kitchens, the minister said 3,227 metric tonnes of rice and 362 tonnes of wheat have been used for providing food to the poor at subsidised cost.

“Approximately, Rs 3.5 lakh is being spent per kitchen per month. To run this scheme and sustain it successfully, we request the Union Government to provide 100 per cent assistance under the National Food Security Act, 2013 to extend to all the needy people,” he said.

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Published 25 November 2021, 13:24 IST

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