Anna Canteens, launched by the Chandrababu Naidu-led TDP government, became instant hit with a large number of people belonging to poor and middle class thronging in large numbers on day one on Wednesday.
TDP finally fulfilled its poll promise after almost four years by opening canteens across the State and in Visakhapatnam 13 out of the assured 25 have become operational.
Initially the plan was to launch 15 in the city, but due to last-minute hiccups, two will be launched within two to three days. Work is apace at the remaining 10 and will be launched soon, said GVMC officials.
The initial estimate is to provide food for (breakfast, lunch and dinner), each costing a small sum of Rs. 5 to the poor, the daily wagers and the migrant labourers. “People who have Rs. 15 in their pocket can have two meals and breakfast, which will be healthy and cooked in hygienic condition. Our contention is no one should sleep with an empty stomach,” said Vasupalli Ganesh, MLA.
Each canteen is estimated to provide food for at least 300 to 350 persons for each meal. That means, once all the 25 gets operational, the canteens will provide food close to 9,000 people per session. Depending on the response we will reduce or increase the indent, said Mr. Srinivasan of GVMC.
According to the GVMC officials, the cooking and supply of food has been outsourced to Hare Krishna Charitable Foundation that runs the Akshaya Patra midday meal scheme. “They are experienced and they run a scientific and hygienic kitchen in Auto Nagar and that is why we have chosen them,” said Mr. Srinivasan.
While the people visiting the canteen will pay Rs. 15 for all the three meals, the actual cost is for the three (lunch, breakfast and dinner) is around Rs. 73. State Government will pay the foundation Rs. 58 as subsidy.
The food will be cooked and packed at the kitchen, and brought to the canteens and distributed. There is no seating arrangement and no parcel service. For clean drinking water, RO plants are being installed in all the canteens.
The canteens will be open from 7.30 a.m. to 10 a.m., 12.30 pm. to 3 pm and 7 pm. to 9 pm.
GVMC which will take care of the maintenance of canteen buildings and has spent around Rs. 8 lakh per building for sewage and water connections and other amenities.
“Quality of food served is very good and environment is neat and tidy,” said Appala Raju while coming out of the Anna Canteen at Regional Eye Hospital. Many expressed similar opinion about the food at the canteens. “There was huge rush of people since morning and we allowed people in batches of 40 to ensure smooth flow of people,” said a supervisor at the canteen.
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