Aam Aadmi Canteen project yet to get off the ground

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New Delhi, Jan 31: More than six months after the AAP government announced setting up of Aam Aadmi Canteens in the national capital, a scheme inspired by Tamil Nadu's highly subsidised Amma canteens, the proposal is yet to get off the ground.

shish Khetan, vice chairman of the Delhi Dialogue Commission (DDC), an advisory body to the government which drafted the proposal, had affirmed on July 16 last year that the first few canteens would become operational in "two months and possibly before independence day" but not a single outlet has come up till date.


The scheme, aimed primarily at the working class and students, is to be implemented by the Food and Civil Supplies Department of the city government. Calls to Khetan went unanswered and text messages elicited no response.

One of his aides, tasked with handling the media, said the "work is on" and that a formal announcement would be made "as and when" there are concrete developments.

According to the proposal, the canteens will serve "nutritious and delicious" meals in the Rs 5-10 range to those who cannot afford, especially around 10 lakh construction workers, hawkers and families living in JJ clusters, and students of technical institutes.

Khetan had announced the management of the canteens waslikely to be outsourced to private agencies. The government refused to comment on the scheme, saying that it was being handled by the DDC.

Uncertainty prevails over the status of the 'Jan Aahar' eateries opened by the erstwhile Congress government also.These outlets, which used to serve food for Rs 18-20, have closed down. "The Jan Aahar experiment was not good and the scheme collapsed.

The quality of food was poor and hygiene was not being maintained due to lax monitoring, in spite of the fact that food was priced at around Rs 20," Khetan had said. There is still no official word on the subsidy required for the scheme, which was "approved" by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal last July.

Each canteen is billed to cater to around 3,000 to 5,000 people. Tamil Nadu spends around Rs 65 crore annually on running 225 canteens, the DDC said. Odisha also has a similar scheme in force.


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