Close on the heels of Amma Unavagam (mother restaurant) scheme of Tamil Nadu which has become a roaring success, the Andhra Pradesh government on Saturday launched the Anna NTR Canteen, a populist scheme aimed at providing subsidised meal to daily wage workers, small-time employees and poor people in the state.
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu formally inaugurated the Anna NTR Canteen at the interim Secretariat complex at Velagapudi, which is part of the new capital city of Amaravati. The state administration will start operating formally from this complex with effect from Monday and arrangements are being made to shift employees from Hyderabad to Amaravati.
For a change, the canteen scheme is named after former chief minister and Telugu Desam Party founder-president N T Rama Rao, apparently following criticism from various quarters over naming of every scheme after “Chandranna” (indicating Chandrababu Naidu).
The Anna NTR Canteens provide breakfast, lunch and dinner to the poor people at heavily subsidised rates. The menu includes: Idli, Upma and Pongal, each for Rs 5 a plate during the breakfast. For lunch, they provide Sambar rice for Rs 7.50 per plate and pulihora (lemon rice) and curd rice for Rs 6.50 per plate. The dinner menu comprises two chapatis with vegetable curry for Rs 7.50 a plate.
In the first phase, the government is planning to open 35 canteens in Guntur, Visakhapatnam, Tirupati and Anantapur and they will be extended to other cities in a phases. “The government will incur a subsidy of Rs 40 on each person for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” an official said.
The chief minister said the government had started Anna NTR Canteen on Velagapudi as a pilot project and it would be expanded to different parts of the state. “We’ll initially establish Anna canteens in 29 villages in the new capital city region of Amaravati,” he said.
Civil supplies minister Paritala Sunita said the government would also provide Oat Malt (ragi sankati) in Anna NTR Canteens in Rayalaseema.
Earlier, Naidu personally served the food to the customers after the inauguration. He also had his breakfast at the Anna Canteen along with deputy chief minister Chinarajappa, ministers Narayana, Paritala Sunita and MP Galla Jaydev.
The subsidised food outlets – Amma Unavagam – set up by chief minister J Jayalalithaa across Tamil Nadu were a huge success, which is said to be one of the factors for her return to power in the recent Assembly elections. In Telangana, too, the TRS government started Rs 5 a meal scheme under Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation limits and it brought victory to the TRS in the municipal elections held this year.