At 1.30 p.m., there is a queue outside Yelachenahalli metro station of people waiting to buy tokens at the mobile Indira Canteen for a plate of rice and sambar. Similar scenes played out during the dinner service at the mobile canteen near Ulsoor lake.
Indira Canteens have good patronage, but the mobile ones appear to be faring better than the others. As many as 17 mobile canteens were launched in as many wards in January and February this year.
According to data available with
, the mobile Indira Canteens serve nearly 100 plates (on an average per day) more than the average among all 188 Indira Canteens. According to the BBMP, the average of all Indira Canteens is 1,223 plates a day, covering breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The mobile canteens are more popular due to their proximity to areas with huge footfalls, such as bus stands, railway stations, Namma Metro stations, factories and industries. This has ensured good patronage by a large number of people and not just the floating population, officials said.
Siddana Gouda, a daily wage labourer from Kalaburagi, said, “Apart from the local poor, these canteens have been able feed people like me who come to Bengaluru in search of work.”
But the mobile canteens face their share of criticism, including the lack of adequate infrastructure such as seating. Patrons have also complained that the mobile canteens are usually parked by the side of busy roads and uneven grounds, making it difficult for them to stand and eat.
Harish V., a regular at the mobile canteen at Yelachenahalli, said that the canteens should at least have an awning or a canopy. Often when it rains, the mobile canteens are forced to shut down. “That apart, many people are not used to standing and eating. They often sit on the dusty, uneven ground to have their meal,” he said.
BBMP Special Commissioner (Finance) Manoj Rajan, who is in charge of the Indira Canteen project, said the civic body had been closely monitoring the patronage of mobile canteens. “A lot of planning and research has gone in to the selection of the locations. We have provided the best facilities wherever possible. The canteens — static and mobile — have also been able to generate a lot of employment.”
The BBMP will soon launch another 10 mobile canteens across the city. The required infrastructure is ready, he added.
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