In the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament, MPs will have to maintain a balance between heated debates and hot food. Reason: The kitchen and dining rooms inside the main building have been closed down following fire hazard.
The elected representatives will have to rush to either library or annexe to grab a bite.
Food for thought will make way for the staple for stomach as a reading room in the library is set to turn into a makeshift canteen for parliamentarians. The decision was taken last week at a meeting of the parliament's food management committee.
“Our priority is the save the heritage building. During the safety audit, it was found that 125 gas cylinders were stored at a time. It is a major fire risk,” Ranjan Prasad Yadav, chairman of the panel, told HT.
As a temporary arrangement, canteen in the reception area will be exclusively used by the secretariat staff, said Yadav. Earlier anyone could walk in (after security check) and enjoy subsidised meal. A plate of chicken biriyani comes at a meager price of RS. 35.
After the Mumbai Mantralaya fire, the Delhi fire department had raised the alarm over the safety preparedness, forcing a blanket ban on cooking in the main heritage building. All canteens there, therefore, have been shut down.
Earlier there were four kitchens: one each in main building, annexe building, reception and library. During the session, only annexe and library building kitchens will operate. “We are mulling the safer option of bringing piped CNG to kitchens in the Parliament. I've already met Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar but the proposal is yet to be passed through the heritage committee of the Parliament,” said Lok Sabha secretary general T K Viswanathan.
“The Tea and Coffee Board stalls will continue to operate as they use electric heaters. A long-term plan for a permanent arrangement is under way,” said Yadav.