CHENNAI: Even as the AIADMK government’s programme to set up subsidised canteens under the brand of ‘Amma Unavagam’ gains international attention, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has in one swoop more than doubled the number of the subsidised canteens in the State. Her order to open 360 more Amma Unavagams would, apart from raising the number from 294 to 654, would also take the programme from the larger urban pockets to smaller towns and semi-urban areas.
“I had inaugurated 15 Amma Unavagams in Chennai on February 19, 2013. Since then, the programme has been expanded. Through video conferencing, I have inaugurated Amma Unavagams in all the Corporations across the State and at government hospitals in Chennai. I now take joy in announcing that I have ordered the inauguration of 360 more Amma Unavagams across the State, and that these would be functional soon,” said Jayalalithaa in her statement.
Her latest order paves the way for the setting up of a second Amma Unavagam in each of the 200 wards of the Chennai corporation, one Amma Unavagam each in the 27 district headquarters where they haven’t already been opened, 129 of the canteens in 124 municipalities, one Amma Unavagam each in the newly formed Dindigul and Thanjavur Corporations and one each in the Coimbatore and Madurai Corporations.
The total number of Amma Unavagams presently functioning stands at 294. Of these, 203 come under the Chennai Corporation (one in each of the 200 wards and the rest in government hospitals), 11 in Madurai Corporation and 1 each in the other eight Corporations in the State.
While the Amma Unavagams in Chennai have been run by the Chennai Corporation, the others are being run by the Commissionerate of Municipal Administration, which oversees all other Corporations in the State.
The Amma Unavagam scheme is an intervention programme aimed at providing quality food at subsidised prices to benefit people from the lower economic sections and the working class population.
The nutrition intervention scheme had caught the attention of a number of other governments within India, and seems set for replication in Egypt. Officials from that country had visited one of the Amma Unavagams on Saturday, and had expressed interest in the model.