In view of the overwhelming response to the Shiv Bhojan scheme, the Maharashtra government has doubled the number of plates to 36,000 from 18,000 per day to be served in 148 centres across the state. The Rs 10 meal scheme was launched on January 26.
Although the department of food and civil supplies is the nodal department for its implementation, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is personally keeping his eye to ensure that the meal is provided to the poor at subsidized rates.
The department of food and civil supplies on Tuesday issued a notification which says that even though minimum plates served at the centre remains 75, the number of maximum plates per day has been increased to 200 from the present level of 150 plates.
The lunch plates or thalis comprise two chapattis, one vegetable sabzi, rice and dal. The thalis are made available between 12 pm and 2 pm. The 'Shiv Bhojan' scheme aims to provide affordable and quality food to all people, irrespective of their religion, caste, creed or financial status.
In the urban areas, the plate costs Rs 50, and Rs 35 in the rural areas. The government provides a subsidy of Rs 40 in urban and Rs 25 in rural areas to those who operate such centres.
According to the notification, in addition to the officers from the department of food and civil supplies, the tahasil officer, block development officer and senior officers have been asked to pay a visit to the Shiv Bhojan centres and supervise the implementation of Rs 10 meal scheme. Currently, the meal is made available through centres situated near government offices, hospitals, bus and railway stations and markets. However, the government plans to expand the number of centres at additional locations.
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Minister of Food and Civil Supplies Chhagan Bhujbal had recently said that the government has allocated Rs 6.48 crore for three months for the implementation of Shiv Bhojan scheme. He further informed that the government proposes to increase the number of daily plates to 1 lakh in due course of time with an annual outgo of Rs 125 crore.