The burden of running the loss-making Amma Canteens in the city is yet to be relieved from the Greater Chennai Corporation as the State government sleeps on the proposal to form Amma Unavagam Foundation even after a year.
A Chennai Corporation official said the bylaws and operating procedures of the Amma Canteen Foundation have been submitted to the State government already. “Once the approval is issued by the government, the foundation will start functioning. The civic body is yet to start collecting donations,” the official added.
According to a government order issued by the Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department in January 2021, the Amma Unavagam Foundation would be headed by the Additional Chief Secretary of the Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department and a district Revenue officer would function as the executive officer.
Once the government gives accord, the Foundation would be created as a company under the Companies Act, 2013 as a not-for-profit special purpose vehicle (SPV) to finance and manage the canteens.
The idea was to accept monetary contributions from private organisations under corporate social responsibility. The collected money would be used to run the canteens. Presently, the Chennai Corporation accrues a loss of more than Rs 100 crore every year to run the Amma Canteens. This is mainly due to the civic body selling idly for Re 1 and variety rice for Rs 5.
As per the records, the Greater Chennai Corporation has incurred a loss of around Rs 600 crore since the scheme launched in the 2013-2014 financial year. The income from the canteens has been decreasing over the years even as the number of canteens increased to 407 from 207.
When asked about the grapevine that the name of the Amma Canteens would be changed, the official refused to comment saying that would be a political decision.