Amma Canteens in Chennai to serve food free till lockdown ends

Palaniswami announced free food at all Amma canteens in Salem district, his native place, and said that the AIADMK's local units will bear the cost

Launched by Jayalalithaa years ago, the Amma canteens known as "Amma Unavagam" in Tamil provide breakfast, lunch and dinner even during lockdown. Photo: Wikipedia

The Greater Chennai Corporation, which runs over 400 Amma Canteens in Chennai on Thursday (April 23) announced free food to people at all its eateries till the lockdown ends.

Days after the food items were made free for people in the Western cities of Coimbatore and Salem, the GCC in its twitter handle said under Chief Minister K Palaniswami’s order and guidance, all Amma canteens in its jurisdiction will provide free food thrice a day till the lockdown ends.

Local Administration Minister S P Velumani tweeted that the Chennai corporation with the largest number of canteens in the city has made food free in all its 407 canteens until end of COVID-19 curfew. “Under Honble CM’s guidance, our govt strives to best serve the needy alwys!” he said.

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Sources told PTI that per day, at least ₹17 lakh is the cost of food served in the 407 canteens in the state capital and volunteers have expressed willingness to foot the bill.

Recently, Velumani had said the AIADMK district party unit will bear the expenditure of providing food at all the 15 Amma canteens in Coimbatore.

On April 19, Palaniswami announced free food at all Amma canteens in Salem district, his native place, and said that the AIADMK’s local units will bear the cost.

In Tamil Nadu, there are 600 plus canteens and in Salem district, 11 are functioning in the Corporation areas and four in municipalities including Edappadi, the home turf of Chief Minister Palaniswami.

Launched by Jayalalithaa years ago, the Amma canteens known as “Amma Unavagam” in Tamil provide breakfast, lunch and dinner even during lockdown. Catering to lakhs of people, including working classes and the indigent, the chain of low cost eateries are run by local bodies.

These canteens offer idlis at a cost of ₹1 each, two pieces of roti at ₹3, Pongal ₹5 and rice varieties including sambar, lemon and curd at ₹5 a plate.

The state governments of Karnataka and Rajasthan had launched Indira Canteens and Annapurna Rasoi respectively inspired by the Amma Canteens.

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