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Akshaya Patra Observes National Technology Day

Every year national technology day is observed on may 11th to bring awareness about the significance of science and technology in daily life as well as motivate students in learning science.The day also commemorates the history of india's technological capability.Technology includes the tools, machines, instruments, transporting devices and the skills by which we use them in our day to day life.Use of technology helps in optimizing quality, minimising cost, efficient use of space, time and labour.In kitchens, technology has spread its efficient hands making work easier and utilizing smart engineering techniques to maintain quality as well as reducing costs.So technology driven ventures are the part and parcel of akshaya patra kitchen, which serves 1.5 million children in 11360 schools across 10 states in india in 24 locations.There are centralised and decentralised kitchen catering to particular localities.All the centralised kitchens are fully automated and equipped with cauldrons, trolleys, rice chutes, dal/sambar tanks, cutting boards, knives and other equipment's.Cooking takes place in mechanized, steam heated cauldrons custom built to save time.Steam is used as a source of cooking, which accelerates the cooking process, retains nutrients as well as cost-effective and clean.Large stainless steel cauldrons with easy-tilt mechanisms prepare 1,200 litres of lentils in two hours and a specially designed roti-making machine cooks up 40,000 rotis in one hour.These fully automated kitchens can prepare 185,000 meals in less than five hours by utilizing gravity flow mechanisms to minimize human handling of food, mechanized high-speed cutting of vegetables and conveyor belts for easy transportation.All raw materials are accepted only after quality inspection in order to meet food safety standards act.Till date, twelve of the akshaya patra kitchens have received fsms iso 22000:2005 certification.The cooked food is packed in steam sterilised customized transport vehicles which have a puffed body that will reduce temperature loss and a honeycomb structure to hold the vessels upright and keep the freshness of the cooked meal intact.Logistic charting and gprs are used to ensure safe and quick delivery of cooked food to schools.Route simulation software is used to minimize fuel consumption and cost.The kitchen technology implements kaizen, ci projects and six sigma methodologies to ensure precision and quality.Training is an integral part of efficient use of technology.Training on 5s, gmp, lean and kaizen, and iso 22000 awareness are given for kitchen employees.Akshaya patra kitchens have adopted several environmentally friendly practices.There are solar plants to reduce dependency on bio-fuels most of the kitchen uses briquette run boilers, fuelled by groundnut husk or rice bran instead of diesel.Rain water is harvested and re-routed into a pond, recharging bore-wells and reducing dependency on water.Recycling of water is done using effluent treatment plant (etp) and the waste water is used for washing vehicles used to transport the food.'bio oorja' kitchen stoves that use biomass pellets as fuel are used which helped in minimizing fuel cost by 50%.Smokeless stoves are being piloted to reduce the dependency on lpg.In some kitchens, furnace is being fed with briquettes, which are made from bagasse, the fibrous by-product of the sugarcane industry which is being efficiently used here as bio-fuel.Technological innovation measures are implemented that has the capacity to produce 70 units of power a day which is used to run all the applications in the kitchen.The plant runs through the use of photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight to direct current electricity.Led lights have been installed in the kitchens that are extremely energy efficient.Akshaya patra reaches out to millions of children in 24 locations across 10 states of india, providing them with freshly cooked meal on all school days.The mechanized kitchen can efficiently cook nutritious meals for multitudes of children at a low-cost and also very hygienically which has been designed and engineered to optimize quality and minimize cost, time and labour.This not-for-profit organisation has been conferred as the world's largest ngo-run mid-day meal programme that utilizes innovative technology, smart engineering and good management to reach and continue to grow its current levels of service delivery and keep costs low.Technology has been brought in wherever possible to cut down costs, bring in speed and scale up operations.The application of technology in akshaya patra's kitchens has helped the organisation in reaching out to more and more children and it can feed 5 million children by 2020.

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