Former Congress MLA Santosh Lad takes lead in opening canteens to serve free food

Former Congress MLA Santosh Lad takes lead in opening canteens to serve free food


Milind Dharmasena

Bengaluru: “Amma Canteens” started by Tamil Nadu’s late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, where a plate of meal was available for Rs five was the inspiration for subsidised canteens to spring up in Karnataka and neighbouring states in recent years.

While the ones started in Andhra Pradesh by the Telugu Desam Party under the name Anna Canteens” closed down after Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy took charge, in Karnataka the Indira Canteens” started by the Siddaramaiah government have been feeding many people at subsidised rates irrespective of the strata of the society.

Now a young, former Congress MLA Santosh S Lad has started canteens in Ballari district from where he hails. The difference between the Indira canteens and his is that the food is free. For now, he has started two each in Kudligi, Harapanahalli and Kalghatgi (Dharwad district) taluks and two were inaugurated in Ballari city on 12, August to mark former CM Siddaramaiah’s birthday. One will be located in the Tahsildar’s office and the other in VIMS premises. The canteens are named as Santosh Lad canteens.

Lad said he has plans to start more canteens but they will be at the taluk level. “The Indira canteens are taking care of the people’s needs in cities and towns, but they are yet to penetrate at the taluk level,” he told The New Delhi Chronicle.

The canteens run for six days in a week and the meal is served only at one time of the day. “We take the food around noon and within three to four hours it’s consumed,” Lad said.

According to him 60 kg of rice is used every day for the rice preparation which is either a pulao, Chitranna or simple rice and sambar. Nearly 10,000 to 12,000 people are visiting the canteens in all the places, he said.

Lad said there is no political motive behind starting these canteens. “When God has given us everything, why not help people as much as we can,” he stated.

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