Following the popularity of ‘Amma Unavagam’, the budget restaurants begun by the Chennai Corporation in the city, the civic body now has a new initiative in mind.
It is planning to commission similar restaurants to help people who visit the city from other parts of the State and country, and intends to set them up at crowded hubs here such as the Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus, Chennai Central railway station and the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, among others.
The Corporation’s health department has asked zonal officials to identify suitable locations such as these to commission the budget restaurants. These restaurants will have relatively higher prices, but will still be for affordable visitors, and will serve healthy food. Prices have not been decided as yet, but zonal officials have started to study locations where people from other cities, towns or villages gather in large numbers.
The most important beneficiaries are likely to be visitors from less-privileged economic backgrounds, who come to referral hospitals in the city. The Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, which receives the largest number of patients from across the State, has 2,722 beds and they are permanently occupied. On an average, the hospital receives around 10,000 visitors who come to see their relatives or friends, hospital dean V. Kanagasabai said. A budget restaurant would supplement the hospital’s much sought-after canteen, he added.
The other three tertiary care hospitals are also badly equipped food-wise. An official at the Government Royapettah Hospital said of the total number of patients it receives only 10 per cent are from the city. Since the hospital caters to a large population, it desperately needs a budget restaurant.
Chennai Central station also receives a large load of visitors, with at between one to two lakhs persons thronging the premises every day.