VIJAYAWADA: Anna Canteens set up by the State government to provide food to the poor at a highly subsidised price, has evoked an overwhelming response from the people. It has been a month since the opening of Anna Canteens in the State.
According to the feedback, the quality and quantity of food served at the canteens is better than that of any other hotel or restaurant. Most importantly, poor people who cannot afford to have food at hotels by paying a high price, are able to have a sumptuous meal for just `5.
Lunch and dinner at these canteens include 400 grams of rice, a cup of curry, 120 grams of sambar, dal and 75 grams of curd along with a pickle. For breakfast, a plate of three idlis or pooris or pongal is served for just `5.
Since the launch of Anna Canteens by Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu in the State on July 11, as many as 20 lakh people have consumed food at these canteens. As of date, the government is running a total of 100 canteens in the State. Another 103 canteens will be set up in 75 towns in the coming months.
“The main objective is to provide quality food to the poor at an affordable price. I am satisfied that Anna Canteens are running well. We will shortly start more canteens in the State,” Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said during a review meeting recently.
According to officials, it was initially proposed to start these canteens in the cities and towns having more than 50,000 population. After seeing the overwhelming response to these canteens, it was decided to set up Anna Canteens in all urban local bodies in a phased manner.
The target of the government is to serve 2.5 lakh plates of food a day on an average and as of now 70,000 plates of food is being served. The focus is on quality of food and hygiene. The preparation of food is being monitored real-time. The electronic token system is being followed in Anna Canteens for transparency.
“I am an orphan and work as a daily wager to eke out a living. Anna Canteen has proved to be a boon to me. Not only the food is most affordable but also tasty and filling. Earlier, I used to spend `80 per plate and has to think about next meal. Now, I can save some money,” said Ramanatham of Vijayawada
According to officials, on an average Rs 73 is being spent for food per head per day at the canteen. The beneficiaries are only paying Rs 15 for breakfast, lunch and dinner, while the remaining cost of Rs 58 is borne by the government. According to an estimate, for running 203 canteens (100 existing and 103 proposed), the government will have to spend Rs 130 crore per annum.
The government is now accepting donations from philanthropists to reduce its financial burden for implementation of the scheme more effectively.