The Akshaya Patra Foundation, which is working with various governments to achieve zero hunger, has launched its first kitchen in the national capital on Tuesday.
Delhi Deputy Cheif Minister and Education Minister Manish Sisodia and the Foundation jointly inaugurated the Mohan Cooperative kitchen, with a capacity to serve close to 22,000 students from 24 schools around the area.
The Akshaya Patra Foundation, considered to be the world’s largest mid-day meal provider, said that it is dedicated to serve hot and nutritious school lunch to 1.8 million children in 51 kitchens across 12 States and two Union Territories of India as the implementing partner of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme.
“Currently, we are implementing the mid-day meal program in 16,856 schools of the country, with a mission of feeding five million by 2025,” the Foundation said.
Apart from the one inaugurated on Tuesday, Delhi will also get two addition kitchens from next month, Bharatarshabha Dasa, Regional President of the Akshaya Patra Foundation, told IANS.
He said the aim of the foundation is to reach more and more children with freshly cooked, nutritious, tasty and hygienic mid-day meals.
“We will be serving nearly 65,000 children in Delhi through our three new kitchens in Mohan Cooperative Industrial Area, Jahangir Puri and Samaypur Badli from January 1, 2020. We are also in talks with the concerned authorities for setting up more kitchens in Delhi-NCR where we hope to scale up to 2.5 to 3 lakh beneficiary children in the coming years. We have even signed an MoU with Ghaziabad administration to set up a kitchen to feed 50,000 children,” Dasa told IANS.
He explained that the Foundation believes that it is important to innovate constantly to stay relevant to changing times.
“The three new kitchens in Delhi are green fuel-powered kitchens which will help us do our bit for the environment. In these kitchens, hybrid solar power pumps will be used to heat water to 80 degrees Celcius and this heated water will then be used to cook dal, rice and vegetables in brat pans. These solar water pumps have the capacity to heat 15,000 litres of water to 80 degrees Celcius at any time of the year,” he added.
Dasa said while the rice brat pans used in these kitchens can cook 1,000 meals in 30 minutes, the dal brat pans can cook 2,400 meals in 1 hour and 45 minutes and vegetable brat pans can cook 5,000 meals in 1 hour.
“As these brat pans use IR burners, the heat distribution will be uniform while soot formation will be minimal despite them being powered by natural gas. These kitchens are also equipped with a semi-automated puri machine with the capacity to fry 6,000 puris in an hour,” he added.