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West Bengal: Ahead of assembly polls, Mamata Banerjee launches scheme to feed the poor at Rs 5

09:28 PM Feb 15, 2021 | Aritra Singha

Kolkata: Ahead of the assembly polls due in a couple of months to woo the voters, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee inaugurated ‘Mayer Rannaghar’ (Mother’s Kitchen), which will serve egg curry rice at Rs. 5 to the poor people across the state.

“Initially this scheme is launched in Kolkata where 16 kitchens have been set up and will serve rice, lentils, vegetables, and egg in just rupees five. Gradually this scheme will be implemented across West Bengal. The state government will bear the subsidy of rupees 15 per plate,” mentioned the Chief Minister adding that several self-help groups will be in charge of the kitchen.

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According to a senior official of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, the name ‘Maa’ was chosen from TMC’s slogan ‘Ma, Maati, Manush’ (Mother, soil, people), as earlier the TMC had decided to name this scheme as ‘Didir Rannaghar’ (Didi’s kitchen).

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Earlier this day, the West Bengal Chief Minister also inaugurated a ‘mother and child’ hub at Chittaranjan Seva Sadan hospital in Kolkata. Inaugurating the hub, Mamata Banerjee mentioned that the number of mother and child hubs now stands at 17 in the state.

Notably, such schemes of running canteens for the poor are nothing new. The first of its kind was started by the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, J Jayalalithaa, named as ‘Amma Unavagam’ that literally means ‘mother’s canteen’.

In 2015, Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnayak also taken a similar initiative and calls it Odisha’s Ahar Yojana (meaning food in Odia). Apart from Tamil Nadu and Odisha, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh also have food schemes for the poor.

On February 10, BJP leader Gautam Gambhir launched ‘Jan Rasoi’ at New Delhi’s New Ashok Nagar area, which will serve food at rupees one.

Notably, the Left Front has been running ‘Shramjibi Canteens’ for many years now that serve vegetarian food for daily wagers, rickshaw-pullers and for poor at Rs 20.

Talking to Free Press Journal senior CPI (M) leader and politburo member Sujan Chakraborty said that ahead of the polls the TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee is copying the schemes of the Left Front. “Vote is a big driver. Mamata Banerjee is copying our model, which we have been doing all these years. Our Shramajibi canteens have been running successfully in Kolkata and in the districts and the common man has been talking about it,” mentioned Chakraborty.

According to poll analysts such initiatives are beneficial for the poor and on the other side it will also beneficial for the ruling Trinamool Congress ahead of the polls.

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