11 February 2019
Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today inaugurated 38 more new ‘Aahar Kendras’ (centres) for the people of 38 urban areas in 17 districts of Odisha. It was dedicated to the people through video conferencing from State Secretariat here.
With these 38 new centres, the daily capacity has now increased to one lakh meals per day instead of the previous 85,000 meals.
The 38 new ‘Aahar Kendras’ inaugurated today by the Chief Minister include a centre at AIIMS, Bhubaneswar.
Thus, the scheme now caters to all the 114 urban areas of our State, a press note stated.
The press note also mentions, “Quality and Cleanliness should be the Hallmark of ‘Aahar Centres.
The scheme is being implemented with the support from seventeen implementing partners while 65 special vehicles and 2,000 personnel have also been pressed into action.
Notably, ‘Aahar’ scheme was launched by Odisha Government on April 1, 2015. Housing and Urban Development (H&UD) Department is the nodal department to implement the scheme in the State.
The objective of the scheme is to provide cooked hot meals like steamed rice and ‘dalma’ to the poor and needy people at an affordable cost of Rs 5 at places of public congregations in the urban areas.
Initially, the welfare scheme was piloted in five Municipal Corporations of Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Berhampur, Sambalpur and Rourkela with 21 ‘Aahar’ centres.
Later on, the Chief Minister dedicated 100 ‘Aahar’ centres to the poor and needy people of the State on April 14, 2016. Currently 114 centres are operational across 30 districts of Odisha, as per the H&UDD sources.
Apart from this, the Chief Minister also on December 31, 2018 launched inclusion of night meals in ‘Aahar’ scheme making the facility available at 56 major hospitals across Odisha where attendants of the patients mainly reap the benefits except Sunday as the centres remain officially closed.
The State Government has also introduced the online donation system in a bid to encourage people’ participation in the scheme and the donation given has been made 100 percent tax-free as per the provision laid down in Section 80 (G) of the IT Act, 1961.
Also rich people can provide foods to the poor on the occasion of birthdays, marriages, marriage anniversaries and death anniversaries of their near and dear through the ‘Aahar’ centres.
While the ‘Aahar’ outlets are mostly opened at hospitals and bus- stands, railway stations, courts, collectorates, etc, the beneficiaries mostly include patients, attendants of patients, construction workers, labourers, rickshaw pullers, auto drivers, street children, needy students, destitute, rag pickers, etc.