Vijayawada: Notwithstanding the municipal administration minister Botsa Satyanarayana's assurance that the Anna Canteens would continue to function even in the YSR Congress government, all the 203 canteens have been shut down after the dinner on July 31.
Each Anna Canteen served nearly 1,000-1,200 meals each mealtime. A total of two lakh people availed the subsidised meal facility on any given day and the canteens were open all 365 days. Anna Canteens provided food at the cheapest price to the needy.
With all the Anna Canteens in the state being shut, AP Congress Committee complained about the same to the chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) asking it to direct the state government to immediately open the canteens for the sake of the poor. The closure of the canteens has been a disappointment to the poor who relied on them for their breakfast, lunch and dinner as food was offered at a nominal price of `5 a meal. The TD government launched Anna Canteens on July 11, 2018 with an aim to provide subsidised, hygienic and affordable food to the poor. The TD government allocated `388.14 crore to set up these canteens in municipalities having a population of more than 50,000. The government provided permanent infrastructure, including building and mineral water plant to supply clean and safe water at the canteens.
The Hare Krishna Charitable Foundation, which provides food under the 'Akshaya Patra' scheme, provided food at the canteens run by six persons, including three women, appointed to serve food and keep the surroundings clean. With the closure of Anna Canteens, as many as 1,200 people have lost their jobs.
Speaking to DC, Govardhan Giridhara Rao, cashier of an Anna Canteen in Vijayawada, said that all the canteens were closed on August 1 and all those working in these facilities lost their jobs. He urged the government to reopen the canteens as the poor were being forced to remain hungry.
Speaking on the issue, APCC, joint secretary Nutalapati Ravikanth said the Government of AP did not explain why the canteens were being shut and when would they be reopened.
He reminded that minister Botsa Satyanarayana, during the question hour in the Assembly recently, said that the Anna canteens would continue to function as usual, but to the contrary, they have been closed.
He said that two research scholars Sanapala V.L.N. Uday Kumar and Bonu Manjula from Andhra University studied the functioning of Anna Canteens in Visakhapatnam district and their report shows the concept won people's trust. He urged the government to resume the Anna Canteens with the name of YSR or Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy or any other and feed the poor....