Low-cost Amma canteens will serve free food in the Salem district from Monday with AIADMKs local units deciding to bear the cost in a bid to help daily wage earners and others, who largely depend on the eateries, during the COVID-19 lockdown. The decision, which will be a great boon to those whose livelihood has been hit by the lockdown, was announced by AIADMK joint co-ordinator and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Sunday.
“The canteens are largely used by daily wage earners and indigent people and they do not have adequate earnings due to the coronavirus situation,” he said in a party release. He said the urban and rural party units in the district, will bear the entire cost of food served at mornings and noon in the canteens. Besides, the party will provide 10 kilo rice and masks to each of the about 2,500 sanitary workers in Salem district till the end of the lockdown on May 3, he said.
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A few days ago, Municipal Administration Minister S P Velumani had said the district party unit will bear the expenditure of providing food at all the 15 Amma canteens in Coimbatore. In Salem district, as many as 11 Amma Canteens are functioning in the Corporation areas and four in municipalities. To honour the tireless work of sanitary workers during the presenting challenging times of COVID-19, the AIADMK will provide them assistance, the party said quoting Palaniswami.
The Chief Minister is a native of Salem district’s Edappadi region. Launched by Jayalalithaa years ago, the Amma Canteens known as “Amma Unavagam” in Tamil provides breakfast, lunch and dinner even during lockdown. Catering to lakhs of people and run by local bodies, these eateries offer idlis at a cost of Re one each, two pieces of roti at Rs 3, Pongal at Rs 5 and rice varieties including sambar, lemon and curd at Rs 5 a plate.
The state governments of Karnataka and Rajasthan had launched Indira Canteens and Annapurna Rasoi inspired by the Amma Canteens.