The State’s largest Amma canteen has come up on the premises of Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (GH).

This is also the first canteen to come up at a government hospital.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Wednesday launched the operations of the canteen via video conference.

With this facility, visitors coming to the hospital will no longer need to walk to places in and around Central railway station to depend on roadside eateries.

Over 300 persons will be able to dine at the canteen at any point of time. The canteen will serve idlis and pongal between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. Sambar rice, curry-leaf rice, curd rice and lemon rice will be available in the afternoon, till 3 p.m.

Hospital authorities said the canteen could prepare 960 idlis in seven minutes. A reverse osmosis plant and two water purifiers have been installed to supply water for cooking and drinking. A dishwasher, which can wash 200 plates at a time, has also been put to use.

GH receives about 12,000 out-patients a day and 3,000 in-patients. Patients from across the State are referred to the hospital. Attendants and visitors constitute a significant part of the population at the hospital, a doctor said.

“Apart from patients and visitors, there are nearly 800 doctors, 900 nurses, 1,200 workers and 5,000 students at the hospital. The canteen will definitely benefit all of them. There was good response on the first day. The food is economical and hygienically prepared,” said GH dean, V. Kanagasabai. The hospital also has its own canteen.

Hospital authorities said the Amma canteen would help to cut down on consumption of food inside the hospital wards.

“People buy food from outside or the hospital canteen and tend to consume it near the wards. Since the Amma canteen does not have parcel service, there are fewer chances of food waste being strewn inside the wards. We can get rid of rats and stray dog menace,” he said.

Dr. Kanagasabai, who is also the director of medical education, said steps are being taken to start canteens at the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Institute of Child Health, Egmore, Government Stanley Medical College Hospital, Kilpauk Medical College Hospital, Royapettah Hospital, Kasturba Gandhi Hospital for Women and Children, Triplicane, and Raja Sir Ramaswamy Mudaliar Lying-in Hospital, Royapuram, and at medical college hospitals in other districts.

Welfare projects launched

On Wednesday, the Chief Minister also launched a number of welfare, environmental and civic projects of the Chennai Corporation including free competitive exam coaching centre, distribution of nochi, papaya saplings and mosquito nets free of cost.

As many as 710 graduates from economically weak sections of society will receive free coaching to appear for competitive examinations of various government posts.

Classes for civil services exam and other competitive exams will be held at Chennai Corporation schools in Saidapet and Perambur.

The scheme to distribute mosquito nets to 78,184 persons living below the poverty line, in the first phase, was also launched on Wednesday.

The Corporation council, a few months ago, passed a resolution to distribute mosquito nets to residents along minor and major waterways, including the Cooum and Adyar rivers and the Buckingham Canal.

Over 5.5 lakh nochi saplings and 6.5 lakh papaya saplings will also be distributed to residents. Every year, the civic body spends more than Rs. 5 crore on mosquito control operations. The herbs are expected to help people tackle public health challenges pertaining to mosquitoes.

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