The Aam Aadmi Canteens that were promised by the Arvind Kejriwal government, have failed to see the light of day, even after the Aam Aadmi Party’s one year in power.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, in his last year’s budget speech, had promised to open these canteens throughout Delhi with the aim of providing nutritious meals to people belonging to the weaker sections at a subsidised rate of Rs 5 to Rs 10. He had also promised to set aside Rs 50 crore in the budget for the purpose. However, it was not done at that time.
Delhi Dialogue Commission vice chairperson Ashish Khetan had, in fact, announced in July 2015 that the scheme would be operational from September 2015.
In March this year, Manish Sisodia again announced the scheme in his budget speech and earmarked Rs 10 crore for these canteens in the budget proposal. However, not a single canteen has been opened till now.
Sources said that on one hand the Arvind Kejriwal government is not taking any initiative to open these canteens, and on the other hand, it is also winding up the Jan Aahar Yojana started by the erstwhile Sheila Dikshit government, which provided food at bus stands, railway stations, hospitals and other important locations, at the rate of Rs 18 per plate. The scheme was launched about 10 years ago and was being run with the help of NGOs.
These Aam Aadmi Canteens were to be opened on the lines of “Amma canteens” being run by the J. Jayalalithaa government in Tamil Nadu, where people get food items at a subsidised rate. In fact, the Amma canteens, according to observers, played an important role in Jayalalithaa’s return to power in the Assembly elections, results of which were announced on Thursday. Under this scheme, idlis are sold for Re 1, chapatis for Rs 5 and a plate of rice for Rs 5. Combinations like sambar rice, curd rice, lemon rice are also sold at the “Amma canteens”.