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Friday, May 17, 2013

Amma Unavagams set to expand ... to serve chapati / roti; pongal and more.....


The poster below in the post tells it all – Traders association of Triplicane requesting the CM and later thanking Ms J Jayalalithaa for acceding to their request. I doubt whether the State should be doing this…… but in India, there are lot of things still controlled by Govt and some in the hands of private sector – the bad example often spoken about is : the Govt sells liquor, Private run the medicare.

Commonly referred as afflicted by ‘sugar’ – Diabetes Mellitus is now well known to the people of India.  Primarily there are 2 forms ~ Insulin dependent diabetes also known as type 1 diabetes. People with this form of diabetes are unable to produce any insulin.  Insulin is an important hormone that is needed in the process of converting food to energy.  Without insulin the body will not be able to regulate the amount of glucose in the blood.  As a result, serious health conditions can arise without the proper maintenance of blood sugar levels. This can become life threatening if not corrected. The other is type 2 afflicting very high % of Indians. This is non-insulin dependent.  Type 2 diabetes results from two factors. One is lowered insulin production in the pancreas due to damaged beta cells and the other is the body’s increased resistance to insulin. This means that with less insulin being produced and the body’s inability to use the insulin that is produced, blood sugar levels become too high for health.

Type 2 is perhaps nature’s way of telling you that you need to change your lifestyle. So it becomes imperative that people refine their food habits and the way they eat………

Chennai is replete with hotels and restaurants – big and small. Only recently another premium boutique hotel with beauty salon and wellness centre, set in a great landscape called E hotel came into being.  There are already some good quality chain restaurants such as Hotel Saravana Bhavan, Sangeetha, Vasantha Bhavan,  Hotchips and more………..still not all could afford the cost…….suddenly the State Government forayed in to food industry setting up Amma Unavagams in all wards in the city, which has become a very big hit.

The glowing success if attributed to good quality food being provided at very low costs.  Currently, there are 200 such low price food outlets [Amma Unavagams], one for each of the two hundred wards in Chennai. These outlets serve a plate of idlis for Re. 1, sambar rice for Rs. 5 and curd rive for Rs.3. The outlets have been huge hits with the general public. According to reports, over a crore idlis have been sold in the first  two months. These were inaugurated by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.

The intentions are indeed noble -  an effort to provide hygienic food at low prices; the brainchild of Madam Jayalalithaa announcing subsidised tiffin centres in all the 200 wards of Chennai Corporation; the first of these were inaugurated by CM on Feb 19.  Later on February 24, on the occasion of Jayalalithaa's birthday celebrations, more  tiffin centres were opened. Coupled with the low price and the availability of hygienic food, the tiffin centres began receiving great patronage from the people. The ones especially benefitted from this scheme are the daily wage earners, labourers, loaders and the indigent who have now became regulars at Amma Unavagams.  The food is supplied hot and fresh from the attached kitchen and have been hailed as quality food. 

Now getting to the poster….the Traders Association and many public requested extending the tiffin centres and sought them to provide ‘chapathi / rotis’ too, especially in the evenings for those affected by diabetes.  ~ … and CM pleased them all by announcing that the menu  would soon ……….. as it will take some time to procure chapathi-making machines, the dish will make its entry only in September. Two chapathis with dhal or kurma will cost just Rs.3.

Presently these Amma Unavagams are manned only by women; from Sept. they are likely to be joined by  men  who would assist them.  A good move since there are concerns that the evening hours could turn out to be rough on the women if their customers decide to gulp  a peg or two before queuing up for the tiffin. The canteens, which close at 3pm now will be extended to 6.30pm after the introduction of new items on the menu.

For the poor, it is manna from heaven and these budget ‘Amma Unavagams’ are set to be functional in Madurai, Tiruchi, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli, Salem, Tirupur, Tuticorin, Vellore and Erode by the end of this month. If the way into voters’ hearts is through their stomachs, Tamil nadu CM  Ms J Jayalalithaa appears to have come up with the right recipe.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
14th May 2013.

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