‘Indira Canteen’, aimed at serving the poor, was inaugurated in Bengaluru on Wednesday by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. Gandhi, who had the first breakfast at the canteen in Jayanagar, said ‘Indira Canteens’ would serve the migrants who come to Bengaluru with a dream to build something. 

The canteens, that will serve breakfast at Rs 5 and lunch and dinner at Rs 10, have been named after former prime minister Indira Gandhi. “No person in Bengaluru should ever go hungry and the canteens are a great means towards it,” he said, asking the government to give much attention to cleanliness and taste, reports The Hindu.

However, Gandhi made a gaffe in his address when he said, “Every single poor person in every single city in Bangalore will feel that in the state of Karnataka, under Siddaramaiah ji’s government, I simply cannot go hungry. That is the vision of the Amma…erm…Indira canteen.”


Needless to say, the good people of Twitter didn’t take a nanosecond to point out the gaffe.

A bumpy ride!

 From the very beginning, the canteens faced some legal obstacle or the other. Apparently, the sites of the canteen were allegedly public places. Given the acute shortage of land in the city, the corporation had to zero in on vacant government land. In some localities, the canteens have come up in parks and playgrounds. 

BBMP couldn’t find locations to execute the project

According to a report in the Times of India, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) which is executing the project, was not able to find locations in many wards. So, just 101 Indira Canteens was opened on Wednesday against the earlier target of 125.

BBMP razes heritage building to build Indira Canteen

The BBMP on July 24 demolished a 100-year-old stone building in Hoysala Nagar’s Murphy Town Market to make way for the government’s proposed Indira Canteen. The building had been housing a library since 1983. Locals said that the library was shifted to another building two weeks ago, reports Bangalore Mirror.

b’BBMP razed heritage building to build Indira Canteen| Source: PTI’

BBMP razes wall of 300-year-old temple to make way for Indira Canteen

A week after it razed the 150-year-old Murphy Town Library, the BBMP once again came into controversy for bulldozing the wall of a 300-year-old temple in Chamrajpet to make room for the Indira Canteen. With stiff resistance from the locals, however, the work was halted before it could proceed any further. Eventually, Chief Minister K. Siddaramaiah issued orders to civic authorities to rebuild the compound and change the location of the canteen, reports The News Minute.

Row over Indira Canteen near Cantonment railway underpass

According to a report published in Deccan Herald, days after the structure of the canteen was completely erected near the cantonment railway underpass, the Railway officials had put up a board next to the canteen which reads “This property belongs to South Western Railway”. Highly-placed sources in Railways said that the BBMP had built the structure without seeking approval from them.

b’There was row over Indira Canteen near Cantonment railway underpass| Source: PTI’

Political slugfest over the construction of the canteens

BJP MLA Suresh Kumar said that the Congress Government was in a hurry to finish the constructions and has been going about it unilaterally. “Congress is not asking anyone for their opinion. Instead of every BBMP ward, they should have started first in every assembly constituency. There is arrogance and that’s working against them,” said Kumar, reports Network 18.

Trees and parks made way for Indira Canteens

In Vijayanagar, three trees were uprooted in a park close to the metro station to make way for a canteen. Further work was stopped after residents stepped in, but, much to their chagrin, the earth movers were back to construct the canteen.

In Chandra Layout, a portion of a park on 80 Feet Road (close to the BBMP ward office) was cleared to make way for an Indira Canteen. In Domlur, the canteen was to be constructed at the Shankar Nag Park but residents raised objections saying that the park would become congested if the canteen was built, reports The Hindu.

(Feature Image Source: PTI)