This food stall run by a Noida-based businessman feeds full meals to over 500 people for six days a week, at a meagre price of Rs 5. 53-year-old Rajan Shrivastava, who came to Noida in 1985 from Bihar’s Muzaffarpur, has been serving the needy for the last three years.
“I provide a complete lunch. There is roti, rice, dal, vegetables, and a sweet dish. We provide kheer and halwa on alternate days. My objective is that the person eating these meals shouldn’t feel like it’s charity. They must feel that they are paying for the lunch. Because you must have seen that people don’t value things which are offered for free. So, the main objective of pricing it at Rs 5 is that the person’s pride isn’t hurt,” said Rajan who decided to serve meals to the needy after he came across a bunch of ragpickers collecting food from a restaurant’s dustbin.
Rajan’s food stall is especially popular among daily wage workers, rickshaw pullers, and people who are far away from home and don’t have access to home-cooked meals during the day.
“It takes a lot of time to cook, and we don’t have that much time. Here we get prepared meals. If we go home, it will take 2-3 hours to cook. So we eat here hurriedly and rush to work,” said a ricksha-puller who frequents the food stall located at Noida’s Sector-55 on regular basis.
“For Rs 5, we get two vegetables, kheer. We get halwa on many days. There are days when we get bananas, puri and rasgulla as well,” said 38-year-old Kailash, who works as a guard in a nearby locality.
Rajan’s NGO, Shree Narayan Sanskirtik Chetna Nyas, has been engaged in community service in the field of women’s education and health care for a while now.
“We have also installed sanitary pad vending machines in girls colleges in Noida, and we have priced the pad at Re 1. Secondly, we also run a computer training van which is equipped with laptops. It provides basic computer education to girls. So far, we have trained nearly thousand girls,” said Rajan.
However, it is timely donations by people that have helped Rajan continue his social work. “My business has not been doing that well recently. What we have been able to do is all because of the help we get. We are not getting any help from the government,” he said.
More power to Rajan, and his ilk, who continue giving back to society in every which way they can.