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People who need food can go to nearest temple: Minister

Number of food packets being distributed by temples in the State has touched 1.75 lakh a day

The total number of food packets being distributed by temples in the State has touched 1.75 lakh a day. The department had set a target of one lakh for hospitals from the annadhanam funds since attenders of patients, staff and sanitary workers were in need of food.

"The remaining packets are being distributed to deserving people. If anybody or group of people needs food, they can approach the nearest temple and we will ensure food is supplied to them," P.K. Sekar Babu, Minister for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) Department, said.

The Department has instructed the 20 regional joint commissioners to cook food in centralised kitchens and distribute them. "It is easier to maintain quality this way. And logistically also it makes sense. The temples share the funds, cooks and staff and the work is done smoothly," said an official.

In Chennai, 5,000 packets of food, each weighing around half a kg, are being distributed at hospitals. Work at the Kapaleeswarar temple’s kalyana mandapam’s modern kitchen begins by 4 a.m. and gets over by noon. Seven cooks from various city temples use 300 kg of rice, 80 kg of vegetables, 20 kg of tur dal, 5 kg of green gram dal, and five litres each of ghee and refined oil to make the sambar rice for the day.

“We are distributing only sambar rice since it is a balanced diet. It has lentils and vegetables including carrots, tomatoes and drumstick, and gives a feeling of being full,” explained a source in the Department. Drinking water bottles, too, would be distributed with the food, the source added.

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