The central kitchen of Iskcon in Bistupur
on Sunday. (Bhola Prasad)
Call it a sumptuous news.
Iskcon Food Relief Foundation — a Mumbai-based NGO that runs one of the largest vegetarian midday meal programmes in the country with one of its kitchens in Jamshedpur — will soon open two more centralised kitchens in the state.
“We have been serving food to children in Jamshedpur and its adjoining areas for more than three years now. We wish is to expand this network and help develop children’s health and education. We will start with Khunti and Ranchi and hope to open such centralised kitchens in all districts of Jharkhand in the coming years,” director of Iskcon Food Relief Foundation Sanjay Tikku told The Telegraph over phone from Mumbai.
He said that they had initiated talks with a few private entities for setting up the kitchens in Khunti and Ranchi.
“We will sign an MoU for opening the kitchens in the next two months. The construction work will take another six to seven months,” said Tikku, adding that plans were also afoot to open similar kitchens in Bokaro, Ghatshila and Chaibasa by next year.
The private party will have to invest around Rs 12 crore to set up the kitchen while Iskcon will take care of the operations.
Notably, Iskcon launched Annamrita in 2004 with the motto of creating a hunger-free world. They started off by feeding nearly 500 children and the number today has reached 12 lakh across 10 states.
In Jharkhand, the foundation has only one kitchen in Jamshedpur, catering to 65,000 students of 383 state-run primary schools.
The well-equipped facility supplying nutritious midday meals was set up at Ramdas Bhatta in association with Tata Steel and the state government in 2010.
At the kitchen, rice, dal and vegetables are cooked with modern equipment and advanced technology to ensure quality and hygiene. The midday meal prepared is then ferried to various government primary schools by vans.