Mumbai, June 30 (IANS) The Maha Vikas Aghadi government's flagship economy meal scheme, 'Shiv Bhojan Thali' has crossed the one-crore meals since its modest launch on January 26, officials said here on Tuesday.
Originally priced at Rs 10/plate, it was later slashed to Rs 5/plate during lockdown and its popularity zoomed above expectations, especially among the hungry migrants, the poor, homeless, students, etc.
"From January 26 till June 30,a total of 1,00,00,870 Shiv Bhojan Thalis have been distributed through 848 centres upto the taluka-level across the state," a pleased Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Tuesday.
From the first day, the popularity of the Shiv Bhojan Thali and its sales have been zooming, starting from January (79,918 plates sold), February (467,869), crossed the half million mark in March (578,031), shot past two million in April (24,99,257), May (3,384,040) and after five months, in June the figure stood at 2,991,755 plates, attaining the milestone of 1,00,00,870.
The thali comprises a wholesome meal of two chapatis, one vegetable, rice and dal which are savoured by the famished millions.
Launched with just 50 outlets as a pilot project through the Food & Civil Supplies Ministry headed by Chhagan Bhujbal, the scheme is now implemented at 848 outlets spread across the state.
"The Shiv Bhojan Thali costs the government Rs 50 in urban and Rs 35 in rural areas, for which the government gives a subsidy of Rs 45 and Rs 30 to the contractor," said a F&CS ministry official.
In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, all centres are observing all protocols like cleanliness, sanitization of the premises and surroundings, all centres' staffers wash hands regularly, wear masks, etc, he added.
The centres have been opened at convenient locations like big hospitals, government offices, markets, near bus or railway stations, and other public places in urban, semi-urban and rural areas.