Many were worried that the popular Numma Oonu project, which feed thousands in a day in Kochi, would expire on April 30. However, Ernakulam district collector S Suhas hinted that the project would be renewed, though with some minor changes. The Petronet LNG which provides the financial assistance for the project too is interested in continuing the project which is beneficial for hundreds of people who do not have the money to buy lunch.
It was two years ago that the Numma Oonu project was flagged off in Kochi. Former collector Muhammad Safeerulla had aimed to turn Kochi into a ‘vishappurahitha nagaram’ (hunger-less city). The Numma Oonu project was initiated by the district administration with the cooperation of the Petronet LNG foundation and the Kerala Hotel and Restaurant Association. The project which began in the city later got extended to various regions in the district.
Feeding 1.78 lakh
The project was started in February 2018. In the initial stage, around 100 coupons were distributed from the collectorate and the South railway station on a daily basis. These coupons could be exchanged for free lunch at the selected hotels that are registered with the Kerala Hotel and Restaurant Association.
The project which was valid only in the city got extended to other parts of the district in the second stage from May 11 2018 onwards. The number of coupons was raised to 300; it became 500 from 1st July that year. Until now, more than 1.78 lakh people have filled their stomachs and hearts using the Numma Oonu coupons.
The Numma Oonu project would be renewed in May with slight changes in its format and execution. Nodal officer CK Prakash said that the Numma Oonu project would be modified in a way which benefits more number of people. Currently, the lunch coupons are available from 20 centres in the district. These could be exchanged for lunch at 39 selected hotels. The Ernakulam collectorate, Ernakulam South railway station, Kochi taluk office, Vypin Malippuram CHC, Kunnathunadu taluk office, Paravur taluk office, Aluva KSRTC stand, Ernakulam KSRTC stand (police aid post), Muvattupuzha police aid post (Kacherithazham), Kothamangalam private bus stand, Ernakulam North railway station, Angamaly railway station, Vyttila mobility hub (police aid post), Perumbavur municipal office, Kanayannur taluk office, Mattancherry government hospital, Muvattupuzha taluk office, Angamaly KSRTC stand, Muvattupuzha KSRTC stand and Piravom government hospital are the centres from where the coupons are distributed in the district. From May onwards, some of these centres would be cancelled while some other centres may be added.
Lunch would be served at two or more hotels in the vicinity of each coupon centre. The coupons are distributed from 12pm to 2pm and lunch would be served in the hotels from 12pm to 2.30pm. The coupons and the lunch are available even on the holidays. The coupons, meanwhile, would be distributed only to those who deserve it. A person cannot collect more than one coupon. Besides, these coupons cannot be exchanged for food parcels. The Numma Oonu project had even caught the attention of the Rashtrapathi Bhavan. The former collector Muhammed Safeerulla was invited to the Rashtrapathi Bhavan and he had gone there to explain about the extremely successful project.
There are hundreds of kind hearted people who supply free food to poor people, bedridden patients or the destitute. However, it must be for the first time that a district administration has taken the initiative to feed the poor. It indeed is an exemplary charitable work which is executed by the public sector by joining hands with the private sector. The project is mainly funded by the public sector organizations like the Petronet LNG and the CSR. Meanwhile, the privately owned hotels are only too happy to serve delicious lunch.