Civic body hosted a lunch for those who helped launch and run Amma canteens

On Saturday, hundreds of workers — both Chennai Corporation employees and those belonging to self-help groups in the city — gathered on the premises of Ripon Buildings, for a special lunch.

The meal was organised in honour of all those who had slogged it out over the past few months to bring about the successful launch and operation of the Corporation’s 200 budget eateries across the city.

Corporation commissioner Vikram Kapur inaugurated the lunch, and several senior Corporation officials also attended the meal.

A variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes was served.

With sales of the popular Re. 1 idli having crossed one crore last week, the civic body is now planning to identify challenges that the initiative faces.

One such challenge, officials said, is the tricky problem of dealing with drunken men who visit the Amma canteens after having visited Tasmac outlets nearby.

“There are no security guards at the Amma canteens. The women who work in them find it difficult to deal with people who are drunk and rude on the premises,” said an official associated with the scheme. Of the 200 budget eateries inaugurated by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa recently, at least 50 are in close proximity to Tasmac outlets, officials said.

Another plan in the offing is a separate department under the civic body to manage the affairs of the budget eateries. A meeting on Monday is likely to look into various aspects of the canteens.

The budget eateries are part of the Corporation’s ambitious project to provide healthy food at reasonable prices to residents living in slums, daily labourers, drivers, load men and migrant workers.

The restaurants offer idli (100 grams) for a rupee, sambar rice (350 grams) at Rs. 5 and curd rice (350 grams) at Rs. 3.

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