Packed food at Parliament House Canteen will be served this monsoon

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Packed food at Parliament House Canteen will be served this monsoon

Meals stalled for the time being

Tuesday, 8th September 2020


The much-publicised canteen of the Indian parliament may not serve its dust-cheap but yummy hot dishes during this current monsoon session in the midst of the strict restrictions for containing the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, only packets of food may be served to the visitors and the vast-ranging ala carte food items as well as the thalis might be out of the menu for the present rather unique session for safety reasons. The same has been reported by the officials who are involved in the session’s preparations.

 

For the last five months, this canteen has been serving just biscuits and tea to people and its lunch meal services have been called off temporarily. “It is almost decided not to cook food in the Parliament complex and serve food packets in a bid to reduce entry of people and crowding in Parliament,” an official said.

 

The northern railway-administered Indian Parliament used to serve an extensive menu of as many as 48 food items at subsidised rates in various Parliament canteens.

 

From simple boiled veggies to the delectable Kesari bhat, the Parliament canteen used to serve 48 dishes in total for lunch as well as evening snacks. But food items like bonda, mutton cutlet and poha aren’t available at the canteen on a daily basis. As per the information provided by the canteen officials two most sought-after food items at the canteen are chapaati (costing Rs 2) and the veg thali (costing Rs 40).

 

As per the stats provided by the officials, out of the subsidy of Rs 17 Cr, an amount of just Rs 24 lakhs was expended on the account of the various MPs. The remaining amount was expended on the account of officials, security personnel and visitors. During a normal parliamentary session an average of 4,500 people consume food regularly at the Parliament.

 

In the year 2015, Sumitra Mahajan who was the Lok Sabha speaker at that time had sanctioned a proposal abolishing subsidy related to the parliament canteen-based food items and operate such canteens on the basis of a no-profit-no-loss strategy. This decision arrived in response to the public criticism that continued down the years and pointed out that Parliament dishes out a platter of delicious chicken curry for just Rs 29 or thick dal for an amount as meagre as Rs 2.

 

Now, a platter of fruit salad is sold at the canteen for Rs 10/- while the cost of the chicken curry has been raised to Rs 50. A masala dosa is sold at a price of Rs 20.

 

But this session will be different. There will be only a few visitors this time due to severe and large scale restrictions for preventing the spread of the deadly coronavirus in the Parliament premises. For the current session, no visitors will be permitted into the complex of the parliament. Media entry too will be significantly restricted. Canteen staff strength will be brought down as well.

 

“All these measures would also mean that the pressure on canteens would be reduced,” an official said.

Also, plans regarding the replacing of the northern railway with ITDC catering wing of the Indian government for running the canteen is afoot. In this context, officials informed that the parliament’s current monsoon session only may witness the start of the catering services from the railways as well as ITDC on a trial basis.

 

 

Source: Hindustan Times 


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