‘Hunger-free City’ to cover two more hospitals in Kozhikode

The ‘Hunger-free City’ project of the Kerala Social Security Mission (KSSM), which provides free mid-day meals to the needy, is all set to enter its second phase, covering two more government hospitals in the city.

A modern kitchen is now fully operational on the medical college campus and the project aims at catering to nearly 3,500 persons — including the destitute who camp on the Kozhikode railway station premises — a day from March second week.

Needy patients and their bystanders at the Government General Hospital (Beach Hospital) and the Women and Children’s Hospital, Kottapparamba, will benefit from this expansion. The service is being extended to these hospitals taking into account its successful operation in Kozhikode Medical College Hospital, where 2,000 persons avail themselves of the scheme.

Survey results

People who live on the streets too will be covered under the scheme. According to a recent survey conducted by the KSSM with the support of the National Service Scheme (NSS) volunteers, their number would come to over 300. KSSM officials say the support of the National Service Scheme volunteers will be utilised to supply food to the beneficiaries.

A chain of 25 NSS units, with over 1,000 volunteers in the city, will distribute food on time to the people. Along with this, the support of Student Police Cadets and the Non Governmental Organisations too will be sought.

Fund source

T.P. Ashraf, Executive Director of KSSM, says the State government will set aside Rs.1.6 crore for the Hunger-free City project, which will meet the expenses for a year. “We will also pool contributions from other sources and ensure uninterrupted operation of the scheme,” he adds.

Mr. Ashraf says the expenses expected for the scheme in Kozhikode, Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram, and Malappuram districts will come to Rs.2.50 crore a year. “For us, fund mobilisation is hardly a problem. We are planning to extend the project to other districts too,” he says.

Under the new plan, the participating districts will have to invest 50 per cent of the total expense from their Plan fund or mobilise it through contributions. The other 50 per cent is likely to be given by the State government.

KSSM officials say that the municipalities and city corporations have to set apart fund for such causes and there aren’t many technicalities involved.

T.K. Mohammed Younus, Regional Director of KSSM, also makes it clear that there will be strict monitoring of beneficiaries. “We know that there are chances of misusing the scheme, but the NSS volunteers are trained to deal with such problems,” he adds.

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