Jayalalithaa Government's popular "Amma Unavagams", chain of low-cost food distribution canteens run by local bodies across Tamil Nadu, continues to attract attention as a model scheme with Chandigarh being the latest in evincing keen interest to replicate it.
A 25-member delegation led by Chandigarh Corporation Mayor Harphool Chander Kalyan has been impressed by the scheme under which food items such as idlies, roti and mixed rice are offered at prices ranging from as low as Re one to Rs five.
Already delegations including those from Egypt, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat have visited the Amma canteens. Several Municipal Corporations, including Mumbai, have also shown interest in the scheme, launched by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in 2013 to benefit economically poor people.
After visiting an Amma canteen here, Kalyan said they would like to replicate the scheme back home. "I liked it very much. I appreciate the Corporation of Chennai for implementing it," Kalyan told PTI after visiting the sprawling Amma canteen in the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital premises here.
"We want to do it. We want to replicate it. We have studied it. We will plan and then do it," he added.
Chennai Corporation Deputy Commissioner (Health) T Anand briefed the Chandigarh delegation about the processes starting from procurement and logistics to serving food varieties and handling surges in demand and some contingencies.
Corporation officials said the delegation from Chandigarh was "impressed with the hygienic and quality food that was being served at a very economical cost." Idli is served at Re 1 a piece, curd rice Rs 3, two chapathis with dhal Rs 3, sambar rice, pongal, lemon rice and curry leaves rice at Rs 5 a plate.
The canteens, launched in 2013 in Chennai and later extended to other places, have become a boon particularly for working classes and migrant labourers from northern states, including Jharkhand, though it is swarmed by middle income groups as well.
Besides the Chandigarh Mayor, Deputy Mayors Heera Negi and Davesh Moudgil, Leader of the Opposition, Arun Sood, Joint Commissioner cum Secretary Rajiv Kumar Gupta and a host of councillors and Union Territory officials were among the delegation.