Odisha government is planning to extend the Aahar scheme to all district headquarters and industrial townships after it received tremendous response in the five municipal corporations. Presently the lunch facility is provided to around 22,000 people at 5 INR in five cities of the state, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Berhampur, Sambalpur and Rourkela.
After reviewing the scheme, chief minister Naveen Patnaik directed to constitute a society at the state level to be headed by chief secretary and another at the district level to be headed by district collectors to look after funding, engagement of agencies and maintenance of infrastructure. “A decision has been taken in principle to extend the schemes to all district headquarters. Collectors have been asked to look for sponsors, including private industries, to finance the scheme,” said housing and urban development secretary G Mathivathanan. The Aahar scheme is presently been sponsored by Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar, Odisha Power Generation Corporation (OPGC) in Rourkela and Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Idco) in Sambalpur.
Tata Steel is supporting the scheme in Berhampur, official sources added.Prior to this the state government earlier roped in central PSUs like SAIL, Nalco and Mahanadi Coalfields Limited to sponsor the scheme, they backed out. Naveen also ordered development of infrastructure such as water facilities, CCTV camera for surveillance, facilities for handicapped people among others at the existing Aahar outlets.