Gujarat chief minister Anandi Patel on Sunday appealed to people to focus on building centralised kitchens to feed children instead of constructing temples.
"If we can provide quality food to children under mid-day meal scheme, we can drastically decrease the drop out ratio. I believe that it's better to build kitchens to feed children than building temples," Patel said, inaugurating a fully-automated kitchen, built by an NGO 'The Akshaya Patra Foundation (TAPF)', at Bhadaj village here on Sunday.
The TAPF-run centralised kitchen, spread across 2 acres, is built at a cost of Rs 15 crore and is hailed as one of the biggest in the country with a capacity of preparing 2 lakh meals within 5 hours with the help of large machines and boilers.
"Food prepared in this TAPF kitchen will be sent to numerous government-run schools and Anganwadis within the periphery of 100 kms as mid-day meal to school children," TAPF official Chanchalpati Dasjee said.
Stressing the need for Public Private Partnership (PPP) in building similar kitchens in the state, the chief minister also gave details about her next plan to build toilets with the help of private firms.
"We have already asked the state-run PUSs to adopt Anganwadis in each district and provide them LPG connections and gas stoves to prepare food. Now, our focus is to build toilets in villages with the help of private firms," she said.
"All the major companies are having their CSR budget. My government has already acquired account statements of each and every firm operating in Gujarat to see how much they are giving back to society. In coming days, all these firms will be asked to adopt villages in their respective areas and build toilets through their CSR budget," the chief minister said.
Patel was accompanied by the minister for women and child welfare Vasu Trivedi, Ahmedabad mayor Minakshi Patel, chairman of TAPF Madhu Pandit among other dignitaries.