Friday, 21 December 2012

Akshaya Patra Foundation Improves its Kitchen Facilities

It needs no introduction. An entry into Limca Book of World Records; appreciation from none other than US President Barack Obama and its work as a case study at Harvard University! The latest addition to its achievements — churning out 40,000 rotis for children in just one hour.

Akshaya Patra Foundation, which runs the world’s largest school-meal programme, has improved its kitchen services by increasing the number of rotis produced to meet the requirement of children. The ‘roti machine’, which was first introduced in 2004 in Brindavan, had a massive task ahead of them. The foundation, which reaches 11.86 lakh children across the country, had made thousands of rotis for kids in North India.

“In that part of the country, children asked for rotis instead of rice. And preparing so many rotis requires more manpower. So we bought the unique machine,” said Vyomapada Das, who is looking after the kitchen at Bhilai.


After Das and his colleague found that the roti-making machine in Amritsar was expensive, they decided to hunt for a similar machine at a reasonable rate. Luckily, they came across a person who could make ‘desi’ style rotis. After negotiation, they paid  Rs.12 lakh for it.

But there was a problem. The machine produced 10,000 rotis per hour while the requirement was to feed 5,000 children. “We tried to solve the problem, and we found out we needed six such machines within a space of 10,000 sqft. It would cost us between Rs 60-70 lakh,” said Narasimha Das, who is in charge of Brindavan kitchen.

When the team contacted the same machine supplier, the latter couldn’t improve the production count. “Then we contacted companies in the US and Holland. A firm in Holland suggested to increase the width of the oven from 0.9 m to 1.2 m and to increase the speed to 12 m per minute. The oven portion was also extended so that rotis can be fully cooked,” said Narasimha Das.


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