Mumbai: The ‘Shiv Bhojan Thali,’ a flagship economy meal program which was launched on January 26 by the Maha Vikas Aghadi government has recently surpassed the one-crore meals mark, the officials confirmed on Tuesday.
The thali was provided at a nominal price of Rs 5 per plate as the lockdown was announced by the government in the month of March. The sudden price deflation of the thali which was originally priced at Rs 10 per plate was positive news for the poor, homeless, deprived migrants as well students and the initiative proved to zoom above their expectations.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray appreciated the decision and said, “From January 26 till June 30, a total of one crore Shiv Bhojan Thalis have been distributed through 848 centres upto the taluka-level across the state.”
The sale and popularity of the Shiv Bhojan Thali have been increasing since the very first day. Around 79,918 plates were sold in the month of January and 467,869 in February and it crossed the mark of 1 million in March during which 578,031 plates were sold, it soon surpassed two million mark when 24,99,257 plates were sold in April, May (3,384,040) and soon after five months, the sale went up to 2,991,755 in July, reaching the breakthrough number of 1,00,00,870.
The economy thali consists of two chapattis, one vegetable dish, rice along with dal which makes for a wholesome spread for the starving families.
The project had just 50 outlets when it was introduced initially through the Food & Civil Supplies Ministry which has Chhagan Bhujbal as its head. But now, the scheme has a far wide reach as the project came up with 848 more outlets across Maharashtra.
Pune Mirror quoted an official of the F&CS ministry as saying, “The Shiv Bhojan Thali costs the government Rs 50 in urban and Rs 35 in rural areas, for which the government gives a subsidy of Rs 45 and Rs 30 to the contractor.”
“In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, all centres are observing all protocols like cleanliness, sanitisation of the premises and surroundings, all centre’s staffers wash hands regularly, wear masks, etc,” he added.
The government’s meal scheme centres have been started at appropriate locations to garner more customers like it has been opened in popular hospitals, government offices, markets, near bus stops or railway stations and other public locations situated in urban, semi-urban as well as rural areas.