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Funding tap shut, Amma Canteens charge for food

After many volunteers — mostly ruling party members — stopped contributing money for Amma Canteens in the city, the Greater Chennai Corporation has stopped providing food free of cost from Monday.

Funding tap shut, Amma Canteens charge for food
File Photo


According to a Corporation official, directions were issued to the canteen employees to collect money from customers. “Some canteens are still getting money from volunteers. In those canteens, we continue to provide free food,” he said.

It was a shock for several customers when the civic body started collected money for food on Monday, as it came without any prior announcement. “The workers ask money without any proper information. I came to Amma Canteen thinking the food is provided free of cost. Now, I have to arrange for money,” said Rajasekar, a customer waiting at an Amma Canteen in T Nagar.

From April 23, the civic body was providing free food after collecting money from volunteers. This proved to be of great help for the migrant workers, stranded person and the poor during the lockdown period.

“As the lockdown has been relaxed and normalcy started to return, volunteers stopped the funding. Now, customers have to pay for food at most of the canteens. But we will try to get funds from other volunteers,” the official added.

The civic body was earning around Rs 6.5 lakh per day before the lockdown, which went up to more than Rs 11 lakh after the canteens started collecting expenses from volunteers. As on date, the 407 Amma Canteens in the city is catering to around 4.5 lakh persons.

Reacting to this, AMMK general secretary TTV Dhinakaran asked the government to continue providing free food to the people through Amma canteens. Pointing out that the canteens have now started collecting money, he said the State should ensure free food for all till the lockdown is fully lifted.

Worker tests positive, hunt on for customers

The officials from Health Department and the Greater Chennai Corporation are in for a tough challenge of tracing the contacts of an Amma Canteen employee who tested positive on Sunday night. According to a Corporation official, the 52-yearold woman was working at the Amma Canteen on Gajapathy Lala Street in Triplicane area, where more than 50 persons have been confirmed positive and are undergoing treatment.

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