Food is cheap in AP poor 'paradise'

Bharatamma runs her makeshift feeding centre opposite the Paradise Hotel, the iconic Biryani point in Secunderabad. Bharatamma never shifted her place from the gates of Parsi Dharmashala. The poor labourers, rag pickers, rickshaw pullers and cart pullers gather at the point from noon for Bharatamma's lip smacking chicken curry and rice for Rs 20, egg curry and rice for Rs15 and Rs 10 for dal and rice. Bharatamma sits there till the food she brought runs out. The only condition for the poor to avail the food is to clean the plate before and after they eat.

"It all started with 70 paise per plate and I am forced to raise the prices now because of spiralling rates of all the ingredients," she said.  Adding to the cost of running the centre is the cost to transport in a three-wheeler from her residence in the Monda Market area.
Bharatamma's food joints  were much bigger when her husband and daughter were alive. She used to serve about 100 people a day and continued running them after her husband's demise with the support of her daughter and son-in-law. However, she had to close down the food point she ran at the Mahboob College after her daughter's death.

In the absence of contributions from her three sons—one being an alcoholic— Bharatamma's grandchildren and the three orphans she raised lend their hands cooking the food and carrying it to the centre.

Despite the hardships, Bharatamma never failed to brings the food hot for the poor who wait for her by the stroke of 12. Rain or shine, she is there for them 360 days a year, providing chicken, mutton and egg that they can afford. For genuine cases she even waives the charge and feeds them free.

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