Equipment likely to be commissioned in 3 months, can make 3,000 pieces an hour

The much-anticipated move to supply chapathis in the 200 Amma canteens in the city got a boost with the Chennai Corporation Council approving a plan to mechanise the process. The commissioning of equipment worth Rs. 4 crore will enable a supply of 4 lakh chapathis a day. The equipment is likely to be commissioned in three months, in time for September, when at least 2,000 chapathis and dal or kurma will be supplied from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in each of the canteens. A plate of two chapathis will cost Rs. 3

The civic body also decided to create a separate department for managing Amma canteens. Officials of the Corporation’s revenue and health department have been shouldering the responsibility of running the canteens.

The decision to mechanise Amma canteens has been taken as the six women at work in each canteen will not be upto the task of carrying out the work manually. While they will be able to make only 50 chapathis per hour, the machines will have the capacity to manufacture nearly 3,000.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had recently announced the expansion of the menu in the canteens with pongal, rice preparations and chapathi being added to the list of items served. Currently, idli is sold for one rupee, sambar rice for Rs. 5 and curd rice for Rs 3. Breakfast is supplied from 7 a.m. to noon. Lunch is served till 3 p.m.

The canteens will soon start serving pongal for breakfast and tamarind rice or curry leaf rice during lunch for Rs 5.

Mayor Saidai Duraisamy asked officials to commission chapathi-making machines within the shortest possible time. The Corporation’s ambitious project aims at providing healthy food at reasonable prices to residents living in slums, daily labourers, drivers, load-men and migrant workers. A number of councillors requested the Mayor to include pickle with curd rice at the council meeting on Wednesday. The Mayor rejected the request citing health concerns.

Many councillors noted the rise in popularity of Amma Canteens over the past few months. The canteens were inaugurated by the Chief Minister in February. Over 2,400 women belonging to self-help groups in the city have been cooking, serving and managing the 200 canteens in the city. The women have been selected through the Corporation for Development of Women.

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