25 wards yet to get land for Indira Canteen

Land has been identified in the remaining 173 wards, of which 29 have been handed over to KEF Infra, which will use precast technology to manufacture structures for the canteen and centralised kitchens.

The state government has set aside Rs 100 crore for the project which serves breakfast for Rs 5 and lunch and dinner for Rs 10.
BENGALURU: Indira Canteens, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's pet project on the lines of Tamil Nadu's Amma Canteens, are set for an Independence Day launch. But the city civic corporation is struggling to identify suitable locations for the subsidised food chain as “some BJP legislators and councillors are interfering in the process," according to an official with direct knowledge of the matter.

The civic body is still scouting for land in 25 of 198 wards. The state government has set aside Rs 100 crore for the project which serves breakfast for Rs 5 and lunch and dinner for Rs 10.

"Each canteen needs 1,600 sqft space, which is as big as a 40x40 site. We're not able to find suitable places, especially in the core city area. We also have some BJP MLAs and councillors asking us not to go ahead with locations we have identified," a BBMP official, requesting anonymity, told ET.

The BJP has red-flagged the process of identifying sites for the canteen, Padmanabha Reddy, the party's floor leader in the city council, said. "But our intent is not to delay the process.We don't want rules to be violated. Citizens are complaining that parks and playgrounds are being identified for the canteen. I've written to the BBMP Commissioner that this can't be allowed," Reddy said. "Also, the Indira Canteen, which is a commercial activity, cannot come up in residential areas, in the buffer zone of water bodies as per the NGT order and near high-tension cables."

Municipal Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad, however, clarified that parks and playground spaces will not be used for Indira Canteen. "We're exploring locations that border wards so that one canteen can cater to two wards. We're also considering private land but a final call on this will be taken in a week's time."

Land has been identified in the remaining 173 wards, of which 29 have been handed over to Tamil Nadu-based KEF Infra, which will use precast technology to manufacture structures for the canteen and centralised kitchens. As many as 21 government agencies, including HAL, have given land for the project.
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"There's shortage of space in wards represented by Congress councillors as well but that doesn't mean it's a dead end," city council's ruling Congress leader Mohammad Rizwan Navab said. "The scheme will benefit the poor and will be implemented on time no matter what."

The civic body has consulted chefs to finalise the menu: Eight items for breakfast and seven each for lunch and dinner. "Over 15 top names from the food industry have shown interest to bid in the catering tender," Prasad said.

Arun Kumar Adiga from Vidyarthi Bhavan helped the BBMP work out capital expenditure.

"I suggested having centralised kitchens in each assembly constituency and that government itself should foot the capex, leaving caterers to simply run the canteens," Adiga said.
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