BHUBANESWAR: The State Government does not have any proposal to launch the Aahar scheme in the KBK region to provide cheap meals to the people at ` five. However, the Government is likely to extend the scheme to district headquarters towns. A proposal in this regard is under active consideration of the Government, Urban Development Minister Pushpendra Singhdeo informed the Assembly in a written reply.
The scheme has been launched in five cities of Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Berhampur, Sambalpur and Rourkela so far. At least 22,000 people in 21 centres in these cities are being served cheap meals which include rice and dalma.
Though each meal costs `20, the scheme is subsidised by different companies and public sector undertakings. Replying to questions in this regard from Dilip Ray (BJP), Singhdeo said Tata Steel is subsidising the scheme for Berhampur while the Odisha Power General Corporation (OPGC) has contributed funds for Rourkela.
The Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) is financing implementation of the scheme in Sambalpur while the Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) is subsidising the scheme at Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.
While five centres have been opened at Sambalpur for the Aahar scheme, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Berhampur and Rourkela have four centres each. The State Government has incurred an expenditure of `16 lakh for each of these centres. The implementation of the scheme has been handed over to Manna Trust and Touchstone Foundation, he said.
Minister for Public Enterprises Pradip Amat said while IDCO has provided `2.64 crore for the scheme, OMC has contributed `3.92 crore. The contribution of OPGC is `2.27 crore.
Industries Minister Debi Prasad Mishra said IDCO had initially provided `2.19 crore for feeding 4000 people in Sambalpur. However, it paid `45 lakh later as the number of beneficiaries increased to 5000. Besides, Tata Steel has so far spent nearly `3 crore for implementation of the scheme.