Jagan shuts down Naidu’s 204 Anna canteens for now

The Andhra Pradesh government has shut down 204 Anna canteens which are run with the help of Akshaya Patra Foundation on Thursday. The canteens cater to the poor by offering breakfast, lunch and dinner at Rs 5 each everyday round the year.

These canteens were opened by the Nara Chandrababu Naidu government in the month of August 2017 in Velagapudi, Tullur and Navulru villages of the capital area so that construction workers and the truckers can benefit from the canteens.

Food was supplied from Akshaya Patra kitchen near Mangalagiri. Initially, the fare was a plate of idly at Rs 1, Pulihora for Rs 5 and curd Rice for Rs 3. The quantity and variety of food improved as time went on.

The canteens were designed on the lines of Amma canteens in Tamil Nadu, were named after NTR the founder of Telugu Desam Parrty who is affectionately addressed as Anna (big brother). The YSRCP government reportedly plans to rename them after Jagan's father Y S Rajasekhar Reddy.

With the canteens shutting down all over the state, daily wage earners, beggars, and others were seen waiting outside the canteens discussing on the reasons of the closure of the canteen that provided them hot quality food all these years.

“I have been working as a cook here at the canteen and we have been paid our salary in the past few months. They just closed the canteen today and asked us not to come,” a cook in Ongole town rued.

'It is temporary'

However, the state government assured that the closure of the canteens is temporary and they will be reopened after certain modifications. YSRCP leaders say that the TDP government launched the scheme just before the election that too painting the canteen with yellow colour, the colour of TDP.

The Jaganmohan Reddy’s government which has been relaunching, renaming and closing some of the Naidu’s pet programmes seems to have found lacunae in the running of these canteens.

“Expenditure on these Anna canteens is not productive,” observed finance minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy. “We will not wind up but will relaunch in the name of Rajanna,” Municipal Administration Minister Botsa Satyanarayana allaying apprehensions said.

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