Anna canteens down shutters in Andhra, await new policy from Jagan govt
Anna canteens, named after former chief minister and Telugu Desam Party founder N T Rama Rao who was fondly called as “Anna” (elder brother), were first started on pilot basis in Amaravati in June 2016. The decision by the Jagan Reddy government came as a big disappointment to the poor who used to get breakfast, lunch and dinner at a nominal price of Rs 5 each.Updated: Aug 01, 2019, 18:57 IST
Anna canteens, launched by the Telugu Desam Party government to provide meals to the poor at a subsidized rate of Rs 5 a plate, have been shut from Thursday.
Akshayapatra Foundation, a non-governmental organization (NGO) which had been outsourced for cooking and supplying food to 200-odd canteens across the state, wound up its operations.
The decision by the Jagan Reddy government came as a big disappointment to the poor who used to get breakfast, lunch and dinner at a nominal price of Rs 5 each.
“The contract came to an end on Wednesday and there was no communication from the new government to continue further. So, we have stopped the food supply and surrendered all the material to the municipal corporation,” a representative of Akshaya Patra in Vijayawada said on condition of anonymity.
Anna canteens, named after former chief minister and Telugu Desam Party founder N T Rama Rao who was fondly called as “Anna” (elder brother), were first started on pilot basis in Amaravati in June 2016.
Initially, the menu was idli or upma or pongal for Rs 5 a plate during the breakfast; Sambar rice for Rs 7.50 per plate, lemon rice and curd rice for Rs 6.50 per plate. And the dinner menu comprised two chapatis with vegetable curry for Rs 7.50 a plate.
However, the menu was changed later to rice, curry and sambar for lunch and dinner at Rs 5 each.
The TDP government provided permanent infrastructure, including building and mineral water plant, to supply clean and safe water at the canteens that came up in as many as 204 places.
It was only on Tuesday that minister for municipal administration Botsa Satyanarayana announced that there was no proposal to close down Anna Canteens. “The previous TDP government had launched the canteens hurriedly without any planning to appease voters by painting them yellow, indicating their party colour. We shall streamline them and make them more effective,” he said.
TDP general secretary and MLC Nara Lokesh, son of party president N Chandrababu Naidu, lashed out at the Jagan Reddy government for winding up Anna canteens. He tweeted that the decision was taken only for political reasons. “”Mr Chief Minister, hunger doesn’t know politics. Should the poor go hungry for your political vendetta against us?”.
YSRCP MLA from Mangalagiri Alla Ramakrishna Reddy, however, expressed confidence that the canteens for the poor would be reopened shortly. “There was huge corruption in the construction of buildings and provision of infrastructure for Anna Canteens. The government will ensure that the canteens would be reopened with better quality food and other facilities,” he said.