ALAPPUZHA: This is quite unlike any initiative the CPM has undertaken in the recent past. The hallmark of the first ‘Janakeeya Bhakshana Sala’ opened on the National Highway 66 at Pathirapally near here on Saturday was the host. It was Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac who went around serving lunch to those who turned up at the food court. The food court, that puts a premium on feeding the underprivileged from society, leverages conceptually on Amma Kitchen and Akshaya Patra from the two neighbouring states.
At the same time, it also strives to draw strength from the success of Indian Coffee House, whose roots are firmly implanted in the Left workers’ cooperative movement of Kerala.“The restaurant does not have the normally mandatory cash counter and the only cash interface is a small donation box. Those who have food and feel like paying any amount can do so.
“We leave it completely to their discretion as what they donate voluntarily will cross subsidise the food served to those who cannot afford to pay. We already had in place a food supply chain as part of our local palliative care network and what we have done is a kind of scaling up of its supply chain,” Isaac told ‘Express.’ An offshoot of the Snehajalakam Pain and Palliative Care Unit of CPM, the food court will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner daily to the needy, said R Riyas, convener of ‘Jeevathalam,’ which is the coordinating body to a clutch of palliative care societies functioning in and around Mararikulam.
“The plan is to prepare food for around 1,000 people each day. Not a difficult task as we are now successfully conducting ‘hunger-free Mararikulam project’ where we serve food to 400 needy people twice a day at their doorsteps. The food court takes off from this model,” Riyas said.While the CPM runs nine pain and palliative care units in four grama panchayats in Alappuzha, Muhamma, Mannancherry, Aryad and Mararikkulam south, the new food court is run under the aegis of CPM Pathirapally local committee.
The food counter for the masses has got off the block with corpus of `22 lakh raised locally. In the coming days too, this is a revenue model that is being envisaged, with appeals to go out on the social media to the Malayali diaspora to donate for a noble cause, said Isaac.
Among those present as special invitees for this novel initiative were Minister for Water Resources Mathew T Thomas, Aroor MLA A M Aarif, eminent writers and social activists N S Madhavan, Dr B Ekbal, Sarada Kutty, Parvathi T, artist Bose Krishnamachari and ‘The New Indian Express’ Resident Editor Vinod Mathew.