Anna Canteens: Bills of Akshaya Patra pending

Contract of food provider to end by July; low-quality food alleged
Anna Canteens (File Photo | EPS)
Anna Canteens (File Photo | EPS)

ONGOLE: The fate of Anna Canteens in Prakasam district hangs in balance as the State government has its own plans over how to run them. After the previous Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government’s tenure was completed, the YSRCP-led new government is yet to finalise the managing agencies of the canteens. As many as 12 Anna Canteens —  Ongole (4), Chirala (2), Kandukuru, Addanki, Markapur, Kanigiri, Giddaluru and  Cheemakurthi — were set up in the district.

As the contract period Akshaya Patra for food supplies to these 12 canteens is going to lapse by the end of July 2019, the government has to take a quick decision on the future of these canteens. After the elections, bills for the Akshaya Patra were stalled. Bills for three months are pending.

The public has started complaining about the sub-standard quality of food at the canteens. Curd has been off the menu at Anna Canteens in Ongole. However, after the district officials issued a stern warning, they have started serving curd. Even earlier, the public complained about the poor quality of food at Anna Canteens. In view of these, the higher officials are learnt to have been planning to change the contractor to ensure that the quality of food is maintained as per the government standards.

Because of the poor quality of the food items, the number of customers at Anna Canteens is falling by the day. On an average, at all the four Ongole-based Anna Canteens, around 3,000 people used to have breakfast, lunch and dinner. But, as the food items were reported to be of poor quality with not tasty, the number of daily customers has dropped drastically to 1,600-1,700 only. Though the monitoring responsibility of Anna Canteens has been allocated to local municipal authorities, no one has taken the responsibility to improve the food quality at these canteens.

As the Ongole Municipal Corporation now has a commissioner, the people are hoping for the things to change for the better.

“We will monitor Anna Canteens in our limits. Now onwards, we will see that all food items served at the Anna Canteens are of good quality and delicious. We are waiting for the new directives of the government regarding changes in the management of Anna Canteens,” P Niranjan Reddy, Commissioner of Ongole Municipal Corporation told TNIE.

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