By Milind Dharmasena
Bengaluru: Congress former Minister Santosh S Lad’s philanthropy work of giving free food through his own canteens has reached 10 lakh beneficiaries
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 in July this year. On Tuesday , the number of beneficiaries eating at his eight canteens reached the 10 lakh figure, which Lad had desired and dreamt when he launched the project.
The huge turnout of people to avail the free meal served at one time of the day increased after schools and colleges reopened. “A large number of people who are eating at these canteens 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 had told The New Delhi Chronicle in an earlier report
These canteens are 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.
Speaking to the media at one of the canteens run in the APMC yard in Ballari, Lad spiked speculations that he would be contesting the next Assembly elections from Ballari. He had represented Sandur in Ballari district in 2004 and was one of the youngest MLAs at the age of 29 years.
However, under the delimitation exercise in 2008, Sandur became a Reserved constituency. Lad shifted to Kalghatgi in Dharwad district and won from there in 2008 and 2013. He lost the seat to the BJP in 2018.
Speaking to The New Delhi Chronicle Lad said the defeat has not deterred him from nurturing Kalghatgi constituency from where he plans to contest in 2023.“This constituency is my Karma bhoomi and will not forget the love people have showered on me. Although some of my welfare programmes are happening in Ballari district, I am going to return to Kalghatgi,” he added.
Lad’s works have not stopped at these canteens. He has launched three mobile health vans named after AICC President Sonia Gandhi and Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi in his Kalghatgi constituency.