Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s novel scheme, the Amma Mess that’s taken Tamil Nadu by storm by selling food at dirt-cheap prices, was launched in Bangalore on Sunday. The menu here is not as munificent as in TN, though, restricted as it is to idlis at Re 1 apiece.
The food stall was opened bang opposite Kalasipalya Police Station, a busy area off KR Market, to coincide with Jayalalithaa’s birthday — which astrologically falls on Sunday but officially on February 24. The inaugural day had a bumper offer: free idlis. Over 6,000 idlis were served to customers on Day 1.
The budget canteen will serve hot idlis with sambar between 7am and 10am on Sundays. “We’ll make it an everyday affair after some weeks because there are some logistical issues to be sorted out,” said Bangalore-based AIADMK leader KR Krishna Raju, an ardent follower of Jayalalithaa for the past 40 years .
Inspired by Raju, more Jaya supporters in the city are likely to set up such canteens.
Raju, a former AIADMK secretary of Karnataka, has been conducting such unique programmes to commemorate her birthday every year. The last time the she visited Karnataka over a court case, she made it a point to meet Raju and express her gratitude to him.
“I’ve involved some poor slum women to prepare these idlis. I’m confident of sustaining this programme for a year but I’m hopeful that by then, the Karnataka government will provide some kind of help and open more such canteens,” Raju said.
Raju plans to meet chief minister Siddaramaiah and submit a memorandum seeking to open such budget canteens, which help the poor who struggle with inflation and other factors in major cities.
FAN FOLLOWING FOR AMMA
About 200 Amma eateries operate across Tamil Nadu, feeding around 2 lakh people a day. They’ve won Jayalalithaa a big fan following.
Women from self-help groups manage the canteens, while revenue officials maintain accounts. Each canteen is manned by 15 women, who’re paid Rs 300 a day. The TN Warehousing Corporation supplies rice at subsidized prices to these eateries, according to Bangalore-based AIADMK workers.