CHENNAI: Taking the reach of the Amma Unnavagam to a new level, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s pet project on Saturday drew visitors here from Egypt. Officials of a standards body from the ministry of trade and industry, Government of Egypt, after reading about the project online, visited the Amma Canteen at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, here.
After taking a tour of the canteen, Accreditation Director, Eng Mohamed Adel Rezk, said, “This is very impressive, a good and excellent idea that we can initiate in our country. The Chief Minister and mayor have implemented a fine idea very well.” Rezk hoped such a system could be implemented across the world.
His colleague Ahmed Khalil, Technical Assessor, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Government of Egypt, was impressed that a government initiative provides hygienic and nutritious food at a subsidised rate. “In Egypt this system is in part done by NGOs through food banks that depend on donations. The government takes efforts to only ensure that bread price does not increase,” he added. Khalil also mulled the option of inviting officials from Chennai to Egypt for a training programme.
While the Egyptian delegation had visited Amma canteens in Madurai earlier, they were impressed by the sheer volume of food processed at the canteen in Chennai. There are now 203 Amma canteens in Tamil Nadu and another 200 are in the planning stage. Meanwhile, the Chennai Corporation intends to take a quantum leap by planning to have 1,000 such outlets here.
Amma Canteen had earlier drawn the attention of municipal corporations of cities like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Jaipur and New Delhi with delegations from Hyderabad and Jaipur visiting them earlier this year. However, the Egyptian delegation is the first international team to have had a firsthand look at the eateries.