‘Deendayal Thali,’ an affordable meal scheme, was launched on December 16, at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) by Yuva Zep Pratishthan spearheaded by Sandip Joshi, leader of the ruling party at Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC). Under the scheme, meals will be made available to patients and their relatives (who come as attendants) coming to GMCH at just Rs 10. The scheme is named after former politician Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya – who is a source of inspiration for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Present at the occasion were Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, Union Transport minister Nitin Gadkari, Maharashtra Cabinet Ministers – Girish Mahajan, Girish Bapat and Chandrashekhar Bawankule, Nagpur Mayor Nanda Jichkar, MLAs – Krishna Khopde, Sudhakar Kohale and Dr Milind Mane, Rajya Sabha MP Ajay Sancheti, Sandip Joshi and GMC Dean Abhimanyu Niswade.
Addressing the people present, Gadkari said, “I thank and congratulate Sandip for starting this humantarian project. Initially, the plan was to provide free food but Devendra and I urged that a nominal fee should be charged as free meals will be taken for granted and one will not understand the importance of it. So, a nominal price of Rs 10 has been kept. Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya was always on his toes to help the needy and this initiative carries his message.” Speaking further, Gadkari said, “Politics is not just about winning elections, it is about helping those who are in need. If you help the needy, God will always be with you.” Gadkari then announced that he will be donating Rs Five Lakh for the Deendayal Thali project.
Fadnavis, while talking about the project, said, “People who visit the hospitals for treatment from outside the city often don’t know anybody in the city. Many times they face a monetary problem for the treatment itself and at that point of time, the additional burden of having expensive food makes the situation even worse for them. I congratulate Sandipji for this initiative, which will help people at large to get affordable food. It’s is a good model that he has created. We have received a similar proposal for Mayo hospital. If different organisations come forward to help, we can start something like this on a larger scale.” Informing about the government aided health camps in Maharashtra for the needy, Fadnavis said, “We have started health camps across Maharashrra to provide medical help to people who can’t afford it. Lakhs of people are getting benefited by it. If there’s someone in need of treatment and can’t afford it, I urge them to contact us and we will try to help them.” Fadnavis and Gadkari after the formal function also had the Deendayal Thali.
Notably, Deendayal Thali meal scheme was first started at Gorakshan Sabha, Dhantoli, Nagpur, by Sandip Joshi. Under the initiative, Yuva Zep Pratisthan provided food at affordable prices to patients and their relatives at hospitals in Dhantoli and adjoining areas.