In 2017, the Congress government in Karnataka launched low-cost canteens in all the 198 wards of Bengaluru. The canteens were named after the late former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the main aim was to make the city hunger-free. But according to an investigation carried out at ten of these canteens in Bengaluru, it has been found that there are massive discrepancies in the amount of food served at the canteen to the amount billed by officials. Documents also revealed how nodal officers billed for 400 plates while the tokens given out at the canteens were about 120-150.
The govt had agreed to pay contractors about Rs 32 per plate. So, a difference of 600-700 plates a day could result in a scam of Rs 18000-21000 per day, per canteen. “As of now, around 150 canteens are operational in the city for the last three months. The figures will be in crores when we sum up the difference,” the investigation team said.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, while inaugurating the canteens, had said that his government wants the poorest and the weakest in the city to know that they cannot go hungry. The breakfast at Indira canteens is priced at Rs 5 and lunch and dinner at Rs 10. Each of the canteens is meant to serve about 500 people for each meal. But currently, only few kitchens are operating, leading to delays and shortages of food, leaving many hopefuls hungry and griping.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had provided Rs 100 crore in the state Budget in the 2017-18 fiscal to run the canteens in all 198 civic wards on the lines of the popular ‘Amma Unavagam’ in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, started by the then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, late J Jayalalithaa.