New Delhi. An upmarket restaurant is acting upon Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit’s decision to remove VAT on meals for the poor by offering free meals for the hard-up. La Maison Goinfre has purchased 30kg of camembert, 50 cases of Bordeaux wine, 5kg of foie gras and 25 jars of preserved duck legs VAT-free.
To qualify for the VAT waiver, the restaurant must provide meals for 50 poor people per week, including wine, although a Delhi Government spokesman confirmed that “house wine” would be acceptable.
“This is excellent news for us,” said restaurant manager Suhail “Pierre” Kumar, putting on a French accent, “at the moment some of our dishes are inaccessible to the poor because the ingredients are so expensive; we are delighted to welcome the masses into our arms and educate them in fine dining – haute cuisine is for everyone, not just the cultured.”
“The man at the PDS shop sent me here,” said Rahul, 27, a rag-picker with a BPL card, “but they won’t let me in. They said I need a tie to get in. So, I borrowed Sunil’s tie – he’s a security guard down the road. When I came back they said if I could afford a tie I could afford to pay. I’m confused and hungry.”
Rahul argued with the doorman for a minute before being told that the main course was “cold duck liver” and ask if he “really wanted that”. He decided he didn’t. His friend Kabir, who works as a beggar near CP, wanted to try out the “cold duck liver” but he was turned away as he didn’t have a BPL card to prove his ‘poor status’.
After hiding behind some bushes for a while, our correspondent accosted a man identified on his number plates as “MRB1G” on his way from his Audi A8 Quattro to the front door of La Maison. Faking News asked if the businessman had a valid BPL card.
“This man is in debt by 500 crores,” interjected the manager, “he has less than no money so he is in a far worse position than most, and look, he has his bank manager with him as his income proof,” gesturing to a man in a suite with “MRB1G”.
Faking News tried to say something about assets, liquidity and investments, but security quickly intervened. Our correspondent did manage to have a glimpse of the man’s three BPL cards though before being ejected from the premises.
However, for the sake of balanced journalism, we must point out that the restaurant does have plans to host BPL diners. Next weekend, 50 BPL card holders will dine with 100 American philanthropists, NGO workers, and diplomats.
Tickets for Let Them Eat Cake: Meet the Poor night start at Rs.15000 for a “standard rag-picker” seat and rise to Rs.25000 for a view of “the deformed”. “We will be offering our BPL guests the full French menu and also a special menu, in case there are ‘cultural issues’,” said Kumar, “I suspect we will have to outsource some of the catering to our ‘BPL scheme’ partners, Punjab Dhaba.”