Close to 1,000 workers will be benefitted in the first phase that is expected to start in the next three months

“There are close to 5 lakh people in the garment sector and close to 2 lakh people working at construction sites, and they do not have a canteen or mess,” said Michael B. Fernandes, the former Member of the Legislative Assembly.

He was speaking at the inauguration of the Shramik Aahar Yojane here on Sunday. The yojane is an initiative of the Michael B. Fernandes Shramik Foundation and it aims to provide nutritious lunch at an affordable cost to relatively low paid workers employed in small-scale industries, garment units and for people working at construction sites.

According to the existing laws, industrial units are not expected to run canteens if the number of workers is less than 200.

According to a release issued by the foundation, close to 1,000 workers will be benefitted in the first phase that is expected to start in the next three months.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Siddaramaiah, Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly, said, “There are lakhs of people in the unorganised sector who do not get nutritious food. This will, in turn, reduce their productivity and the overall productivity of the work.”

Praising Mr. Fernandes’s efforts, Mr. Siddaramaiah said that if power was in the hands of good leaders, then lakhs of people would be able to reap benefits of the welfare schemes. Highlighting the corruption in the State, he said: “If people had chosen the right candidate, this (corruption) would not have happened.”

The event coincided with the 78th birthday of Mr. Fernandes. He and his wife, Dona Fernandes, founder-member of Vimochana, were felicitated. M.N. Venkatachaliah, former Chief Justice of India, and former Minister P.G.R. Sindhia were present.