Kolkata: Ahead of the assembly polls in the state, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee virtually began the ”Maa” system under which her government would give a meal at a low cost of Rupees 5 to poor people. They will get a plate of rice, dal, a vegetable, and egg curry for Rs 5, she said continuing that the state government will have a subsidy of Rupees 15 per plate. Self-help organizations will run the kitchens from 1 pm to 3 pm every day and those kitchens will be established up everywhere in the state slowly, Banerjee said.
The “Maa” scheme takes its name from Trinamool Congress’s (TMC’s) motto of “Ma, Mati, Manush (Mother, soil, people)”. “First, Maa scheme would be started in Kolkata where 16 common kitchens have been established up. The meal would include rice, dal, a vegetable, and egg and would be served at Rs 5 per plate. The food would be ready at a fixed time,” a senior official said. The project would slowly be spread to other towns and cities in the state. The state government has now designated resources for this. Earlier, the TMC had begun a community kitchen, “Didir Rannaghar” (Mamata’s kitchen) to help migrant workers who were affected due to job losses between the Covid-19 pandemic.
The CPI (M) too had commenced a few hundred “Sramojibi canteen” (community kitchen) to give vegetarian food to the poor. The party had also started 50 health clinics and maintained houses for those who cannot manage healthcare facilities. Even in schools, shut during the pandemic, while mid-day meals were not provided, the state government extended to give ration to the students’ families. The state assembly elections are scheduled in March – February this year. The BJP which had created deep inroads in the state in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls is now professing a major hurdle to the ruling TMC. The BJP has fixed a mark to get more than 200 seats in the 294-seated assembly.