No one would go hungry in Alappuzha just because they don’t have money in their pockets. Five hotels that serve delicious lunch for just Rs 20 -25 function at various spots in the district. Recently, an eatery where lunch is served for Rs 25 was opened by the Kerala government at Mannancherry.
Finance minister Dr. TM Thomas Isaac had posted a message on his Facebook page about this.
“It was declared in the budget that one thousand eateries that serve lunch for Rs 25 would be opened before Onam. Those who were sceptical about it could come to Alappuzha to see it. Before March ends, 10 such eateries would be opened in Alappuzha. The one at Mannacherry is the first among them,” wrote Isaac.
The eatery functions inside the private bus stand which is a prime spot in Mannacherry. Around 36 people can comfortably have food at a time in the two room eatery owned by the Mannacherry panchayat. Besides the main kitchen and the dining hall, there is a verandah as well. The authorities said that glass walls would be installed so that dust particles wouldn’t enter the eatery. They even have plans to make it air conditioned.
Mannancherry native Riyas and his friends have been serving food for around 400 families in the area for the last two years. The food cooked at the ‘janakeeya’ (popular) kitchen was supplied without charging even a single penny. The food that is served at the recently opened government eatery too would be cooked at this kitchen.
Two Kudumbashree workers have been appointed here to take care of the daily affairs. Delicious fish curry too would be served with the lunch. Besides the lunch for Rs 25, there is a ‘share a meal’ counter as well. If you don’t have the money to buy food, then you could pick a coupon from this counter. These coupons are sponsored by someone else. The minister wrote in his Facebook post that sponsorship worth Rs 5000 was received on the first day when he was at the counter. Not just the middle class people, but those who toil hard to earn a day’s meal too had become sponsors of the coupons.
Isaac said that Navas, who earn his living by selling tea in the bus stand, had donated Rs 500 saying that he is only happy to donate to feed the poor. Special dishes too are available at this eatery. However, you would have to pay extra Rs 30 for the specials. Mussels roast, fried fish and beef fry are some of the special items served here.
“A big group of people are willing to work for this initiative. Thanuja and Vijayalakshmi are Kudumbasree workers who serve food here. Block panchayat president advocate Sheena Sanalkumar, panchayat vice president Manju Rathikumar, panchayat health standing committee chairperson Maya Sajan, CDS chairperson Dhanalakshmi and Dr. Bindu Anil too are here with us. The doctor has even expressed willingness to sit at the counter next week. A dedicated group like this is the greatest strength behind this initiative. We plan to open such eateries at various locations in the coming weeks as well,” wrote Thomas Isaac.
No hunger village
The ‘vishappurahitha gramam’ (hunger free village) project was initiated by the Snehajalam unit of the Jeevathalam Paliative Care headed by the CPM in 2018. The unit opened an eatery here where money wouldn’t be charged for the food. However, those who have the food at this eatery could deposit an amount as they desire in the box kept at the counter. This eatery supplies food for bedridden patients at their homes.
The hotel run by the P Krishna Pilla Memorial Trust at the Deshabhimani junction serves lunch on plantain leaves for just Rs 25. This eatery too supplies food for the bedridden patients.
The Subiksha restaurant run by the Kudumbasree near the Power House Bridge serves lunch for low prices. It would only cost Rs 20 for lunch. Food would be served without charging any money to the poor. For the bedridden patients and the destitute, food is supplied at their homes as well. This eatery functions at the building owned by the municipality near the Shavakotta Bridge.