Kerala

Over 1.75 lakh people fed under ‘Numma Oonu’

Used coupons of Numma Oonu, a free meal programme for the hungry initiated by the Ernakulam district administration, at a restaurant in Ernakulam.

Used coupons of Numma Oonu, a free meal programme for the hungry initiated by the Ernakulam district administration, at a restaurant in Ernakulam.  

District administration to continue the project beyond its expiry on March 31

When the novel Numma Oonu, a free meal programme, was launched two years ago, it had the lofty ideal of turning the city hunger-free.

With just over two months left for the project to be wound up, figures suggest it had more or less lived up to its objective as over 1.75 lakh people have benefited from it.

The project, a collaborative initiative of the district administration, Petronet LNG Foundation, and the Kerala Hotel and Restaurant Association (KHRA), is set to expire on March 31.

“We will definitely continue the project beyond March and have taken up the matter with stakeholders,” said District Collector S. Suhas. The extension of the project is also under the active consideration of Petronet LNG, which has been funding it under its corporate social responsibility initiative.

The project, a brainchild of then District Collector K. Mohammed Y. Safirulla, was introduced on Republic Day in 2018 with the larger goal that none in the city should go hungry no matter who they were. Under the programme, food coupons are issued from distribution centres against which select hotels registered with KHRA and located within the one- or two-kilometre radius of the centres serve free meals.

At present, there are distribution centres comprising Government offices and railway and bus stations at 20 locations across the district, while 39 hotels have signed up for the programme. “We now distribute around 500 food coupons daily out of which around 350 to 400 coupons have takers,” said T.N. Neelakantan, plant head, Petronet LNG.

The promoters are planning to further fine-tune the programme as and when the second phase is launched. The number of distribution centres for food coupons will remain the same at 20, but the locations will be judiciously selected based on demand.

Centres reporting low intake of coupons will be relocated, while the number of coupons may be increased in more responsive centres.

An impact study of the programme conducted by the School of Communication and Management Studies towards the end of last year pointed towards an overwhelming response.

Literally anyone irrespective of their financial backgrounds can get food coupons from the centres between 11.30 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. round the week except on Sundays. Student volunteers support the project by distributing and collecting coupons from distribution centres and hotels, besides providing feedback.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 10:03:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/over-175-lakh-people-fed-under-numma-oonu/article30629190.ece

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