Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Iskcon to set up giant kitchen in Hyderabad

Times Of India: HYDERABAD: In about three months from now, the mother of all kitchens will become operational in Hyderabad. Equipped with state-of-the-art cooking equipment, the kitchen will prepare 1,600 kg rice in 30 minutes, 4,800 litres of sambar in 45 minutes and 2,000 kg wet 'sabzi' in one hour.

Coming up at a two-acre leased land at Kokapet, the kitchen will be the biggest belonging of Akshaya Patra Foundation, an initiative of the Bengaluru-based Hare Krishna Movement. The foundation serves food to 1.4 million children in over 10,000 schools across 10 Indian states.

In Telangana, Akshaya Patra provides food to about one lakh students in 450 schools in Medak and Ranga Reddy districts alone. At present, the meals are being prepared in a make-shift kitchen being operated from Patancheru from where over 60 vehicles ferry the food to the various schools. The modern kitchen aims to reduce the time taken to prepare the food, a development that can help the organisation provide midday meals to even more schools.

For one lakh students, Akshya Patra at present needs to cook 20,000 kg of rice, 8,000 litres of sambar and 1,000 kg of sabzi using 6,000 kg of uncooked rice, 1,200 kg of lentils and 1,500 kg of vegetables. The food is cooked using Couldron Technology.

"With existing technology, we used to start cooking at 3 am and complete it by around 9 am, but thanks to the new machines, we will be able to finish the cooking in two hours, from 6.30 am to 8.30 am," said the president of Akshaya Patra for Telangana and AP, Satya Gowra Chandra Dasa.

The midday meal comprises rice, sambar, sabzi, a fruit and a sweet, and the ingredients will vary among 30 changing menus.

In the new technology, about 65,000 litres of water purified with reverse osmosis process will be used for both cleaning and cooking. New vegetable cutting machines too. are slated to reduce the cooking time. While cooks would no longer be necessary, 200-odd volunteers will still be needed to package and transport the food to the vehicles.

The state-of-the-art food machines are being imported from Sweden and cost Rs 2.5 crore each. The new kitchen at Kokapet is to come up at a total cost of Rs 17 crore. The Hare Krishna Movement has taken the land on lease for 33 years.

"We have already conducted trial runs of the food machines in Sweden and they have been successful. Once the GHMC sanctions the building plan, we will begin construction. If all goes well, the new kitchen will be operational in three months," Chandra Dasa said. 

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