By Milind Dharmasena
Bengaluru: The never- say- die spirit of former Congress MLA from Kalghatgi in Dharwad district, Santosh S Lad, who started his own version of the Indira Canteens after the second lockdown is going strong.
The canteens named after him as Santosh Lad canteens were initially meant for the labour class, who had returned from their home towns after the lockdown restrictions were lifted. Today, more people are eating a free meal a day at these canteens as the schools and colleges have reopened. “A large number of people who are eating at the canteen are the students. The regular work force of drivers, labourers continues, while medical staff and front line workers who are deputed on COVID duty also visit,” Lad told The New Delhi Chronicle.
Lad said vaccination drives are also being held regularly at these canteens, and it’s a milestone where over a million people are being benefited from these canteens as it touches the 100- day mark in mid October. They are currently functioning two each in Kudligi, Harapanahalli and Kalghatgi. Two were opened in Ballari city on 12, August, to mark the birthday of former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah taking the total to eight.
Lad’s works have not stopped at these canteen. He launched three mobile health vans named after AICC President Sonia Gandhi and Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi in his Kalaghatgi constituency. `‘The clinic on wheels ‘’ , perhaps the first of its kind in the country, has been designed to provide well equipped professional medical aid besides offering Covid tests and treatments.for blood pressure, Typhoid, Malaria, Dengue etc.