The Indira Canteen, built to serve food for a reasonable price, is now under scrutiny after food samples were found contaminated. BJP councillor Umesh Shetty has brought the matter to light while the Congress-led BBMP denies it blatantly.
BENGALURU: Quality of the food served at Indira Canteens in Bengaluru has come under the scanner. Lab reports say that certain items served such as Sambar, Bisi Bele Bath are not fit for consumption.
What’s worse is that the food that is supposed to feed hungry stomachs has now become a matter of political debate instead.
BJP councillor Umesh Shetty alleged that the food was "poisonous" while the Congress-ruled Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) defended the food quality and said it was absolutely fine for consumption.
The issue came to light after BJP corporator Umesh Shetty found the presence of bacteria and fungus in the food samples.
Umesh Shetty spoke to Asianet Newsable and said, “The negligence is on their part, but the sufferers are Pourakarmikas. They consume this food on a daily basis and it affects them.”
Shetty went on to say that the scam is not just in food quality, but also in the projection of how many people consume the food.
“They say they’re feeding 16,000 people and take funds for that number. But in reality, they hardly feed 2000 people,” added Umesh Shetty.
Furthermore, R Ashoka, senior leader of the BJP, said that Indira canteens have become centres of disease-distribution.
“By giving mediocre quality food, the government is using up funds that was originally meant for food, for elections,” added R Ashoka.
However, BBMP sources denied claims and said that they have not received a single complaint of people falling ill after consuming food at Indira Canteen.
Shetty had found something fishy after the number of pourakarmikas kept dwindling. Upon further questioning, he found that they suffered from diarrhoea and other stomach-related ailments.
He then figured that the food from Indira Canteen could be the culprit and decided to get it tested.
Umesh Shetty collected samples from JP Nagar ward, mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun’s area, deputy mayor Bhadre Gowda’s Nagapura ward and Byatarayanapura, Aramane Nagar, Govindrajnagar and Mudalpalya wards. The samples were collected in the first half of March.
Dr Kishore Shenoy of Ramaiah Advanced Testing Laboratory said that samples contained E coli bacteria. This could cause abdominal cramps and vomiting.
According to the BBMP’s own reports, a whopping 16,000 pourakarmikas consume this food on a daily basis. The BBMP has claimed that as many as 21 lakh people eat at Indira Canteens.
Deputy chief minister G Parameshwara has directed the BBMP commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad to test food samples and take strict action against erring contractors.
Prasad will get samples of Indira Canteen ingredients and the cooked food tested in 12 labs accredited to the National Accreditation Board. He has also assured approval by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.
Last Updated 19, Mar 2019, 12:59 PM IST