VRINDAVAN: Akshaya Patra Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation working towards elimination of hunger, is planning to open six more kitchens in Uttar Pradesh where on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi served the three-billionth meal to school children on behalf of the Foundation.

The Foundation currently has three operational kitchens in Uttar Pradesh in two cities—Vrindavan and Lucknow.

The Foundation is going to expand its base in Uttar Pradesh by setting up centralised kitchens in cities like Agra, Ambedkarnagar, Ghaziabad, Gorakhpur, Kanpur and Varanasi, while, according to a spokesperson of the Foundation, it is in the process of identifying land in five more locations in the state where they want to set up their maximum number of kitchens.

A spokesperson from the Foundation said, “MoUs have been signed in Uttar Pradesh in these places, with land being made available by the government. The government shall also be providing the capital expenditure for these kitchens.”

Apart from this, the Foundation is also planning to expand in the Northeastern states. In Arunachal Pradesh’s Itanagar, the Foundation will set up a new kitchen to feed 10,000 students.

The kitchen will be constructed with the support of the state government. Construction is expected to be completed by December 2019 with a target to start operations from January 2020. The spokesperson from the Foundation said: “We have plans to set up kitchens in Sivasagar and Majuli districts of Assam and very soon we are expecting to finalise the same. Also, in Tripura, we have plans to set up a kitchen in Agartala, proposal for which has already been submitted to the Tripura government.”

The Akshaya Patra Foundation aims to serve 5 million children by 2025 and has, thus, started to expand to other parts of the country. On Monday, the Foundation in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Governor of Uttar Pradesh Ram Naik served its three-billionth meal to school children in Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh.

On the occasion, Prime Minister Modi said, “I am fortunate that I am serving the 300th crore thali. The Central government is committed to ensuring quality food to our children. The first thali was served during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s regime. For a strong nation, we need well-nourished children.”

Modi also added that the Centre is committed to ensuring a healthy childhood, quality food, vaccination and cleanliness.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said, “The task initiated by Akshaya Patra to serve nutritious meals to children daily is an exemplary work by the Foundation and in Uttar Pradesh, 1 crore 77 lakh children are served mid-day meals by the Foundation.”

Akshaya Patra Foundation chairman Madhu Pandit Dasa said, “Akshaya Patra rose from a humble beginning. We started by serving just 1,500 students in five schools. Today, we are serving wholesome food to 1.76 million children across 12 states of India.”

The Akshaya Patra Foundation, which is headquartered in Bengaluru, began in 2000 by serving mid-day meals to 1,500 students from five different schools. In 2012, the Foundation reached its first milestone of serving one billion children.

Through the years, the Foundation has grown and has now set up 40 kitchens across 12 states. The Foundation is funded by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and has partnered with various state governments to provide mid-day meals to children in schools.

Source: SundayGaurdianLive             Dated: February 16, 2019