Captain’s community kitchens: Serving the hungry, homeless & working class | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Captain’s community kitchens: Serving the hungry, homeless & working class

Being run by the District Red Cross Societies, these community kitchens have started serving meals in some districts, catering to hundreds of people.

punjab Updated: May 21, 2017 18:20 IST
HT Correspondents
Capt Amarinder Singh
People having food at ‘Sasti Rasoi’ at Red Cross Bhawan in Bathinda..(Sanjeev Kumar/HT Photo)

Tamil Nadu has successful ‘Amma Canteens’ and Odisha its ‘Ahaar’ centres. Now, the Capt Amarinder Singh government has come up with its own community kitchens, named as ‘Sasti Roti’ in party’s poll manifesto, to provide subsidised food to the poor. Being run by District Red Cross Societies, these community kitchens have started serving meals in some districts, catering to hundreds of people. And, they all have different names, menus and operating models. HT reporters visited the community kitchens for a first­hand experience

Simply ‘outsourced’ to contractor in Bathinda

Bathinda: A meal of four “chapattis”, seasonal vegetable and pickle is availaservischeme, ble for Rs 10 at the Red Cross building here, with “aloo puri” once a week.

Launched by the Red Cross Society on May 8, the Red Cross Day, the ces under the subsidised meal Sasti Roti, have been outsourced to a private contractor. District Red Cross Society official Varinder Sethi said the contractor supplies food at the rate of Rs 15 per diet.

“As the meal is provided at Rs 10, the balance amount of Rs 5 per pack is being paid to contractor by the society. The society officials look after the day-today functioning of the scheme,” he said.

The scheme is being funded through donations and other income of the society. The district health department has been asked by the deputy commissioner, who along with other officials had the meal on the day of its launch, to ensure hygiene.

BATHINDA
  • Name: Sasti Roti
  • Launched on: May 8
  • Price: Rs 10
  • What’s on the platter: Four ‘chapatis’, one seasonal vegetable and pickle
  • People served food daily: 200
  • Private partner: No
  • Persons employed: Nil. Services outsourced to private contractor
  • Any expansion plans: No

The scheme was started by giving 400 food packets from noon to 2.30pm. Though meant for the poor, the authorities found that packed meal was being collected by staff of government departments and other offices. “The deputy commissioner stopped distribution of packets. The needy ones can now have food at the centre,” said an official. The facility serves meal to about 200 people every day.

Ramkaran, a daily wage earner, said the administration should give meal more than once a day. However, the district administration has no immediate plans to expand the scheme.. (By: Amit R Joshi)

NGO lends a helping hand in Ludhiana

Ludhiana: “What more could one ask for when one gets “bhar pet khana” for just Rs 10,” said Amandeep, 25, a mason at Tungaheri village in Raikot, after gorging on a plateful of rice, chapattis, pulse and a vegetable. The best part for Amandeep, camping at the civil hospital as his wife delivered a baby last week, was that he could go for more than one serving.

People having food at ‘Saddi Rasoi’ near Civil Hospital in Ludhiana. (Gurminder Singh/HT Photo)

With queues at “Saadi Rasoi” growing, the scheme, launched by the Red Cross Society in collaboration with NGO Ann Jal Seva Trust on May 7, is serving meal to around 300 people between noon and 4pm daily. And, the poor do not have to fork out even Rs 10 at times, as philanthropists are pitching in to pay for them, besides donating ration and other items for the scheme.

Ludhiana
  • Name: Saadi Rasoi
  • Launched on: May 7
  • Price: Rs 10
  • What’s on the platter: Rice, dal, vegetable and chapatis
  • People served food daily: 300
  • Private partner: Ann Jal Seva Trust
  • Persons employed: Five. There are 25 volunteers too.
  • Expansion plans: Areas such as Sherpur, Dhandari and Gill Road where migrant workers reside.

Chandar Mohan, who was at receipt counter, said: “On Tuesday, there came a person who paid Rs 500 and took 50 receipts. He distributed the receipts among those standing in queue for meal”. A committee of 200-odd people from diverse fields has been formed for to ensure smooth functioning.

Ann Jal Seva Trust president Shiv Ram Saroay said the aim is to extend the affordable meal service to areas where thousands of migrant workers reside. “Given the massive populace, plans for Saadi Rasois at Sherpur, Dhandari, Gill Road and Court Complex will be part of the deliberation during our next meeting,” he said.. (By: Sumeer Singh)

Mouth-watering menu sets Jalandhar apart

Jalandhar: Aloo-chana, kadi pakauda, rajma, halwa and what not – it’s as good as it can get. There is a different menu every day of the week under the subsidised meal scheme “Sanjhi Rasoi” started by the district administration.

Food being served at ‘Sanjhi Rasoi’ in Jalandhar. (HT Photo)

Lunched on May 16, the community kitchen, set up at the civil hospital in a building that was meant for diagnostic centre, is providing the food at Rs 10 to the poor from 1pm to 3pm. Being run in collaboration with the Ann Jal Seva Trust, a local non-governmental organisation, the scheme is catering to 300 people daily, mostly relatives of patients and other visitors.

District officials said there is a plan to expand the programme to provide nutritious meal, including porridge and khichdi, to nursing mothers and children. The authorities are also contemplating serving dinner in coming months after observing the response, besides installing closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the kitchen.

Jalandhar
  • Name: Sanjhi Rasoi
  • Launched on: May 16
  • Price: Rs 10
  • What is on the platter: Rajma with rice, moong dal with rice and chapatti, ghia with rice and pickle, etc. Different menu daily
  • People served food daily: 300
  • Private partner: Ann Jal Seva Trust
  • Persons employed: 14
  • Expansion plans: Contemplating serving dinner. Nursing mothers to be served porridge and khichdi soon

Additional deputy commissioner Gurmeet Multani said special attention is being paid to cleanliness in the kitchen. “We have made sure senior officials visit the facility to check the quality of meal that is being served,” he said. (By: Aakanksha N Bhardwaj)

Govt staff, students, poor queue up for meal at Rs 5 in Muktsar

Muktsar: Meal for Rs 5 at “Sadi Rasoi” has got everyone interested. The affordable food scheme, started by the District Red Cross Society for the poor and homeless persons, also has government employees, students and others queuing up at the community kitchen at Red Cross building in the heart of the city during lunch hours for a meal of six chapatis, dal and a seasonal vegetable.

Bohar Singh, a labourer, wants more. “At Rs 5 a meal, it’s good. But dinner should also be given,” he said. Red Cross Society secretary Gopal Singh said that they are willing to serve dinner also, provided the state government gives fund. “I am hopeful of running the scheme, but the society does not have adequate funds,” he said.

Muktsar
  • Name: Sadi Rasoi
  • Launched on: May 1
  • Price: Rs 5
  • What’s on the platter: 6 chapatis, dal, vegetable
  • People served food daily: 475 on an average
  • Partner: No
  • Persons employed: 15
  • Expansion plans: Yes, but funds needed from government

Though the meal cost comes to Rs 15.37 per plate, the district authorities have priced it at Rs 5 only, serving food to about 475 daily on an average. However, a few local traders have come forward to give assistance. The society has set up its special kitchen with chapatimaking machines and engaged 15 persons, nine of them women trained at Institute of Hotel Management, Bathinda, for running the facility and serving the people in adjoining dining hall. While three cooks are being paid Rs 6,000 per month, others gets Rs 3,000. (By: Sarbmeet Singh)

Sanjhi Rasoi serves meal to 350 daily in SBS Nagar

SBS Nagar: Launched on May 1, the International Labour Day, “Sanjhi Rasoi” (community kitchen) is being run from one room in the district administration complex to provide nutritious and hygienic meal at Rs 10 to the needy.

SBS Nagar
  • Name: Sanjhi Rasoi
  • Launched on: May 1
  • Price: Rs 10
  • What is on the platter: Different menu every day, ranging from moong dal and rice with pickle to aloo-chana with halwa
  • People served daily: 350
  • Partner: Istari Shakti (NGO)
  • Persons employed: Eight, including five cooks and three others
  • Expansion plans: Plans afoot to serve dinner

The District Red Cross Society, which runs the project with the help of Istari Shakti, a local non-governmental organisation, and other groups, serves lunch for three hours in the afternoon. On an average, 350 “thalis” are consumed daily. Children below 10 are provided food free of cost.

While deputy commissioner Sonali Giri was on support of philanthropists from the start, non-resident Indians (NRIs) and social organisations have come forward to give their support.

The district authorities are monitoring the functioning of the kitchen for proper hygiene. While two employees of the sanitation department of the municipal council visit the facility daily to ensure cleanliness, health officials take food samples regularly. (By: Jatinder Kohli)