Private players will play a larger role in upkeep, maintenance and security of Amma canteens soon.

The civic body has invited bids from private contractors for the maintenance of its buildings, including canteens in Ambattur, Menambedu, Korattur, Mannurpet, Padi, Anna Nagar West extension and Mogappair.

“Private contractors will shoulder the responsibility of minor repairs, electrical faults and providing security at the canteens,” said an official of the Chennai Corporation.

Over 2,400 women belonging to self-help groups in the city cook, serve and manage the canteens. The civic body will soon employ four more women at each of the 200 canteens for preparation of an expanded menu.

The civic body has instructed all zones to initiate measures for the maintenance of Amma canteens. A large number of residents visited the Amma canteens on Monday following the introduction of the expanded menu comprising curry-leaf rice, pongal and lemon rice.

Through the Amma canteens, the State government aims to provide healthy food at reasonable prices to slum residents, daily-wage labourers, drivers, load men and migrant workers. The first such canteen was inaugurated by the Chief Minister in February.

The canteens now offer idli for a rupee, sambar rice, curry-leaf rice, pongal and lemon rice at Rs. 5 and curd rice at Rs. 3. On Monday, around 2.5 lakh idlis, 33,681 plates of pongal, 38,694 of sambar rice, 20,542 of lemon rice and 18,146 of curry-leaf rice were served at the canteens.

Improvements to the Amma canteens have been proposed following requests from councillors. A tender for construction of a building to house Amma canteen on the premises of the GH has also been floated.

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