Only two weeks after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee launched the Maa canteen project to give food at a subsidised rate of Rs 5 to the urban poor, the initiative seems to be a hit.
As per Department of Urban Development & Municipal Affairs, Government of West Bengal (GoWB), as of 25th February 2021, the total number of meals served were 1,19,112 since the day of canteen’s commencement.
« The food is good. We are happy because of all that we get at Rs 5. Otherwise, I used to spend Rs 35 per day. Now I am saving a lot of money, » Jakir Naskar who works as a security guard told India Today TV.
Many pictures and videos circulated across social media where scores of people were seen patiently waiting for their turn to be served. Many took to Twitter to say the food is wholesome while praising Mamata Banerjee for implementing the scheme.
Maa Canteen in Ballygunge launched by TMC today. A meal for Rs 5. Reminded of Amma canteen in Tamil Nadu. pic.twitter.com/IKD1GEeMCB
« It is a good arrangement for the poor. Will the poor work and fend for themselves or worry about food? » asked a resident, Nabakumar Majhi. While Majhi ate at the canteen for the first time, his relative Uttam Kumar was relieved to save some money, thanks to the Maa canteen.
Maa, an initiative of the Department of Urban Development and Municipal Affairs, GoWB to provide subsidised mid-day meals to the poor and needy people of the urban areas of the state has started from 15th Feb, 2021. Take a look at the locations of ‘Maa’ canteens across the state.
Maa, an initiative of the Department of Urban Development and Municipal Affairs, GoWB to provide subsidised mid day meals to the poor and needy people of the urban areas of the state has started from 15th Feb, 2021. Take a look at the locations of ‘Maa’ canteens across the state. pic.twitter.com/yHkZekZaHB
There are a total of 49 canteens spanned across 28 districts, out of which 22 canteens are located in Kolkata itself.
According to Mamata Banerjee, just as Maa or Amma in a family gives food to all, the Maa project would give lunch to the ones requiring it. The menu comprises rice, dal, vegetables, and egg curry. The canteens, start from 1 pm to 3 pm in all urban civic bodies, were described by the CM as a novel project.
“This is dedicated to the mothers of Bengal. Please ensure that the meal reaches the poor and needy,” Banerjee had said. The budgetary provision is Rs 100 crore. Banerjee had told the media, “I too will come for lunch one day. The government will have to bear a subsidy of Rs 15 while people will get lunch at Rs 5.”
Reacting to the news, the state BJP president Dilip Ghosh slammed the CM and termed Maa canteen as a political showbiz. TMC hit back. Ruling party leader Debasish Kumar claimed that BJP was criticising Maa canteen to feed the poor because Centre’s schemes were anti-people.
TMC MP Sougata Roy even said it is an initiative to help the poor. On being asked why this project was launched before the West Bengal Assembly elections, he said, « If not before the elections, then when? »
She flagged off other projects on Feb 15, the day she inaugurated Maa canteens, including four IT parks and a mother and child hub of 100 beds at Chittaranjan Seva Sadan Hospital. The Matri Maa building would house newborn ICU, sick newborn care unit and hybrid ICU. The CM renamed Administrative Training Institute as Netaji Subhas Administrative Training Institute on the occasion of the leader’s 125th birth anniversary. The state is going to the polls on 27th March, 2021.