Earlier this week, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa announced that all Indira Canteens in Bengaluru will remain open during the nationwide 21-day coronavirus lockdown. However, the next day, the opposite was stated in another announcement, that Indira Canteens will remain closed during lockdown to avoid assembly of people.
This was a shock to many since providing food to the vulnerable population is critical at this point. After much public outcry, the government has again announced that Indira Canteens will remain open and provide food to street vendors, daily wage workers, and others who fall in the low-income category.
The canteens will provide hygienic food three times a day, and are to take precautions to ensure cleanliness and safety.
The public notice shared by the Government of Karnataka states the following:
- Indira Canteens will be open from 7.30 am to 10 am, from 12.30 pm to 3 pm, and from 7.30 pm to 9 pm.
- Street vendors, daily wage workers and poor citizens can avail free food during these hours.
- Beneficiaries should help maintain cleanliness at the canteens.
- Staff at the canteens should compulsorily wear masks and gloves, and make soap and sanitisers available for beneficiaries.
- While queuing up for food coupons, beneficiaries should be instructed to maintain a distance of 1 m from each other and to cover nostrils and mouth with masks or a clean cloth.
Find the list of Indira Canteens across the city here.
In a tweet yesterday, BBMP Commissioner B H Anil Kumar said, ”BBMP has started distributing food packets to the poor & needy. Yesterday, 61800 food packets were distributed and today 92000 were distributed in 160 locations across Bengaluru.” Many of these packets had been distributed outside Indira Canteens across the city.