It has not been commissioned owing to confusion over who will share the recurring expenditure

It has been almost two months since Amma canteen was set up in Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) here, but the canteen is yet to be commissioned.

The date of inauguration is still in suspense since there is no clarity on who will bear the recurring expenditure — the Madurai Corporation or the Health Department. Official sources said on Friday that the civic body was hesitant owing to its dire revenue position and the running cost.

The canteen was ready in December itself and works were expedited on a war-footing in November. On December 18, Collector L. Subramanian, Mayor V.V. Rajan Chellappa and Corporation Commissioner Kiran Gurrala inspected the budget canteen and reviewed the requirements to meet the huge demand expected from the patients, their attendants and the general public.

It is the Corporation that runs the other 10 Amma canteens in Madurai.

“The GRH facility is envisaged for preparing 2,400 idlis in the morning for 600 persons, sambar rice for 600 persons and curd rice for 300 persons every day. Even though we will get a nominal amount from the sales, the recurring expenses will be a burden,” a Corporation official said.

Mr.Chellappa, who visited the GRH in November on a couple of occasions to inspect the construction work, is waiting for clarity on the cost-sharing issue.

‘Corporation affair’

GRH officials also wonder over the delay. “I think it is an out-and-out Corporation affair. Maybe, the government can follow the model of Amma Unavagam in the Chennai GH,” S. Vadivel Murugan, Medical Superintendent, told The Hindu on Friday.

The Corporation authorities have written to the Commissioner of Municipal Administration, giving details of the possible sales, income and expenditure for the canteen.

Idlis, sambar rice and curd rice will be sold at subsidised rate as stipulated by the State government. Two reverse osmosis plants will be in place to provide drinking water.

“We have asked for clarity on who has to run the canteen and whether sharing of expenses between the Corporation and Health Department is possible,” said a Corporation official.

According to sources, the State government will soon make an announcement, entrusting the responsibility of running the Amma canteens in government hospitals to the Health Department.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa will inaugurate it through video-conferencing from Chennai along with other projects, officials said.

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