Express News Service
BENGALURU: A day after he announced free food for the urban poor at Indira Canteens during the COVID_19 outbreak, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa made a u-turn. Pointing out that crowding increases the risk of transmission, the CM on Tuesday ordered a lockdown of the canteens, without providing an alternative for the poor.
“We saw crowding at Indira Canteens after announcement of free food. At times of an epidemic, we cannot allow it. It’s impossible to keep it open. We will have to make changes in our announcement. Till March 31, people will have to bear with it,” the CM said when asked about what those who cannot afford to buy food are to do.
Daily wage workers and the homeless have been hit hard with closure of establishments and all commercial activities. In a bid to ensure that the economically-weak do not go hungry, the government had decided to provide free food at Indira Canteens. However, on Tuesday, the government decided against it without providing an alternative. As of Tuesday evening, the CM’s office told TNIE that a meeting with BBMP officials was being held to decide on distribution of food to the poor.
“We are contemplating distributing food packets through the police, government officials and volunteers who are on beat or set up sanitised distribution centres with regulations on distancing,” said a source from the CM’s office.
Meanwhile, the CM appealed to the public to celebrate a low-key Ugadi. Though a key festival in Karnataka, people have been asked to stay off the roads and support the government’s initiative to curb the spread of coronavirus.
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