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With quality meals, Maa kitchens win hearts

Kolkata: At a time when the prices of essential commodities are skyrocketing due to the abnormal surge in fuel costs, the "Maa" common kitchen — launched by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to provide subsidised cooked meals at a nominal cost of Rs 5 per plate — has received an overwhelming response on the first day of its launch.

The Chief Minister launched it on Monday from Nabanna Sabhaghar within 10 days after announcing the project while delivering her speech for the Vote on Account at the state Assembly on February 5.

The common kitchen — which is providing stomach-full rice, dal, vegetable and egg curry at Rs 5 per plate despite eggs being priced at Rs 6 per piece — has turned the talk of the town with people appreciating the effort of the Chief Minister.

Somnath Palui, who enjoyed the meal at the kitchen run by Howrah Municipal Corporation on Tuesday, said: "It is something unbelievable. I enjoyed the food in a homely atmosphere."

Palui got detained for some work at central Howrah. Unable to go home for lunch, he walked into the common kitchen. "It is beyond my expectation. The service is being provided in a very professional manner despite offering the same at subsidised rate. The place is not only neat and clean but the quantity and quality of the food is also outstanding," he said.

People, who had lunch at the Maa kitchen in Sonarpur, were of the same opinion.

An official of the Howrah Municipal Corporation said: "Food gets distributed at many places on the day of Saraswati Puja. So, we were not sure how many people would turn up. But the report at 3.15 pm revealed that the response was overwhelming."

The kitchens are remaining open from 1 pm to 3 pm. The women, who are serving food at these kitchens, are taking all measures to maintain the hygiene standards.

It may be mentioned that the state government is providing a subsidy of Rs 15 per plate so that people can have the same just at Rs 5. The state government has already allotted a fund of Rs 100 crore for the project. It was initiated at 27 points and six places in Kolkata. The Chief Minister said on Monday: "This programme is for common people. We give free ration to all. There are many who want to have cooked food, but they do not get it for having to work outdoors."

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