Unsatisfied with the new initiatives it had taken at the 10 Amma canteens in the city, the Coimbatore Corporation has planned to take yet another step – a technology intervention in the billing process.
According to sources, the Corporation has planned to install RFID (radio frequency identification) system on an experimental basis at a billing counter in an Amma canteen. The system will have RFID tokens, which the person manning the billing counter will give to customers. She will give separate tokens for idli, sambar rice, or curd rice.
These tokens will be fed to a RFID reader, which will pass on the data to a computer.
As and when tokens are given, the number of items available will get reduced. This will enable officers to monitor the progress of sales on a real time basis. Finally, the person should present another token to mark the end of sales process.
Though marginally expensive by a few thousand rupees, the system will help the Corporation save on paper tokens and recover the cost in six months.
This will help the Corporation officials monitor the stock in the kitchen as they will know how much rice has been used to prepare idli, sambar rice, or curd rice. And they will be able to arrest pilferage.
The sources say that if the Corporation finds the system to be effective, it will extend it to all the 10 canteens in the city.
The Corporation is trying to standardise the whole operation. In another couple of days the civic body will clearly know how much rice and dal it takes to cook 1,200 idli (four idli each for 300 tokens), and rice for 300 sambar rice, and as many curd rice.
According to sources, the Corporation is facing shortage of food. For, in the last few days since the inauguration of the budget canteens, the customer patronage has been so good that within half-an-hour of the start of the business, the food gets sold out.
There were reports that people who went to the canteens at 8 a.m., an hour after the start of business at 7 a.m., did not get food. The same was the case in afternoons as well. But for the Corporation to increase the quantity it has to obtain permission from the State Government, which has fixed the limit at 300.