At the Amma canteen at Saidapet the name was covered on on Tuesday
Chennai: The photograph of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa and the name ‘Amma’ at the more than 400 canteens in the city, now covered by white tape despite the election code of conduct being no longer inplace, might remain only for a few days more. A policy decision is likely to be soon taken by the newly elected DMK government and change it to ‘Anna’ canteen.
Tuesday’s incident of a canteen at Mogappair being vandalisedevokedtensions regarding the naming of the scheme.However,senior Greater Chennai Corporation officials denied any foul-play and said that they would start removing the white tape from the nameboards. “Thescheme will continue,” an official said.
DMK spokesmanand Rajya Sabha MP T K S Elangovan confirmed the plan to change the name. “We have promised an improvised form of canteens in the manifesto. It can have only one name,” he said, adding that it would be named after DMKfounderandlatechief minister C N Annadurai.
In its manifesto, DMK had also promised to start across the state 500 ‘Kalaignar’ canteens, which, like Amma canteens, would provide food at subsidised cost to poor and underprivileged people.
Started by Jayalalithaa in 2013, there are now 407 Amma canteens in the city. Funded completely by Greater Chennai Corporation, each facility provides idli at ₹1 , variety rice at ₹3 a plate and chappathi with dal at ₹3 a plate.
Professor Jothi Sivagnanam, head of the economics department at University of Madras, said it was the Dravidian tradition to strengthen existing schemes started by politicalopponents. “PDSrice, marriage assistance and old age pension are examples. Name change is expected as politically it might be uncomfortable,” he said.
The new government should bring in improvements in the quality of food and new centres should be started in more prominent localities, he said. The corporation is in an advanced stage of proposing to collect CSR funds by bringing the canteens under a trust.