Hyderabad’s Rs 5 meal centres to offer free dinner

New service was discussed at the review meeting with MA&UD Minister, would most likely be launched from Saturday

By Author  |  Published: 27th Mar 2020  12:13 am
Family have their lunch at Annapurna centre in Ameerpet. Photo:Surya Sridhar

Hyderabad: The possibility of offering free dinner through the State government’s Annapurna meal scheme is being actively explored, with the government already offering free lunch through the centres from Thursday.

According to officials, after a review meeting with Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister KT Rama Rao here on Thursday, the free food service at night at the Annapurna centres was discussed and would most likely be launched from Saturday.

Modalities are being worked to select about 50 to 60 few centres where the free dinner would be offered. The task of identifying the centres has been entrusted to Zonal and Deputy Commissioner in respective municipal circles. An announcement to this effect is likely to be made shorty.

The State Government’s Annapurna Rs.5 meal centres have already turned into a blessing in disguise for the poor and the needy during the current lockdown period as free food is being offered at the centres in the city.

Of the 150 centres, nearly 90 Annapurna centres were operational on Thursday afternoon. Steaming hot food was offered for free since 11.30.am and at many centres people made good use of the service.

Since Thursday was the first day to offer free meals, officials operated 90 centres to gauge the demand and ensure supply of raw materials like vegetables for preparing the meals. From Friday all the 150 centres will be operational, officials said.

All sanitation and social distancing measures are being taken at the centres and people are offered only after they wash their hands with soap or sanitizers. The plates are also being cleared immediately after the dust bins get filled up.

Further, to ensure many people benefit from the service, officials are planning to set up makeshift centres in colonies and near basthis. This apart, such makeshift centres are also being set up near hostels and other locations for the convenience of students and working professionals, who are residing in the hostels. The hostel managements have been directed not to ask the inmates to vacate the hostels.

Meanwhile, the Akshaya Patra foundation, which prepares the meals, is gearing up to increase its production from Friday and offer sufficient meals at all centres.

The foundation operates two kitchens at Narsingi and about 600 personnel work extensively to prepare the meals.

Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister KT Rama Rao, during Thursday’s meeting with GHMC officials and Akshaya Patra foundation, assured to extend all support to ensure uninterrupted supply of meals at all the 150 centres in the city.

To this effect, special vehicle passes and identity cards will be offered to the foundation personnel to facilitate smooth transportation of the meals.

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