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Munda served first platter under Dal-Bhaat scheme

August 27, 2011

(Published August 17, 2011 Jharkhand Edition – Hindustan Times)

Ushinor Majumdar

Ushinor.Majumdar@hindustantimes.com

Aug 16, 2011

Ranchi: The weather let up for a few hours on Tuesday to permit Independence Day celebrations in Ranchi. After the chief minister finished with flag hoisting, his speech and watching the parade, he headed over to the town hall for a special lunch.

Monday’s lunch was indeed special but for everyone — begun by a speech by chief minister to inaugurate the Mukhya Mantri Daal Bhaat Yojana.

There were between 400-500 people gathered at the Town Hall in Ranchi to eat their lunch at Rs. 5/-.

Chief Minister Arjum Munda said, “This is so that people do not have to worry about earning their living when they have to worry about gathering food for the day.”

Munda said, “Everyone just buys a token for Rs 5, stands in a queue and gets a plateful of dal, chawal and subji / alu chokha.”

Munda added that the ultimate aim was to make people independent. The scheme was symbolically kicked off on Independence Day.

Munda sat down with the chief secretary of the state and his wife to lunch on the dal-bhaat platter, which contained alu chokha (mashed potatoes) as well. At different centers, different vegetables are being made available. ITI is giving a portion of a curry made from gram (kabuli chole) and the railway station is providing a curry made of potatoes and soyabean chunks.

On Tuesday, state food and civil supplies minister, Mathura Prasad Mahato said, “The government is providing rice at Re 1 per kg. The scheme is being run under a public-private partnership across 100 centres in Jharkhand. Ranchi has seven such centers.”

Mahato added that the scheme will go a long way to satisfy the hunger pangs of the masses.

The seven centers in Ranchi are at Town Hall, Sadar Hospital, Birsa Chowk, ITI, railway station, Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences and the Khadgara bus stand.

Deepak Kumar – officer with Dhahar (an NGO) which operates a kitchen and eating area under the scheme at the Town Hall – said, “We have received 13 quintals and 60 kilos of rice from the state government for about 17 days, but if it finishes earlier, we will get more from the food department.”

According to Dhahar, the cost per plate should be Rs 4.80. Thus, the scheme will be self-sustaining, believes Deepak.

The Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee believes that the scheme will flop. Dr Shailesh Sinha, state secretary says, “If it [the dal-bhaat scheme] succeeds, it will be good, but the state government lacks will power. We have demanded several times that the below poverty line population should be fed free of cost, but nothing has come of it.”

Menu:

CM’s Dal-Bhaat platter – Rs 5/-

Rice – 200 gms

Daal – 25 gms

Vegetables / Alu Chokha (Mashed Potatoes) – 25 gms

Pickles – One teaspoonful

Salt and chillies – to taste

EOM

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