The state government had put in a proposal to the State Cabinet in 2014 for setting up Anna Canteens, in collaboration with Akshayapatra Foundation, along the lines of Chennai’s Amma Canteens, and had the same approved. So far, they have launched one such canteen in Velagapudi this year in June. A three-member team of Ministers visited the Amma Canteens in Chennai in August 2014 and have done research for the same.
Tamil Nadu has 230 canteens in Chennai where idly is served at Rs 1, sambar rice, pongal, curd rice and similar items are served at Rs 5. Hyderabad has similar canteens that serve food at Rs 5 too. While the proposal was to set up a total of 35 canteens in Visakhapatnam, Anantapur, Tirupati and Guntur, the team is yet to reach a consensus as to what food will be served. The proposal stated that lunch will be served accompanied by currys, chutneys and sambar; but the team argues that different kinds of rice would suffice. There is also discussion if the popular dish from the respective districts should be provided.
Addressing a review meeting, the CM said that the canteens would first be opened in cities and towns. Civil Supplies Minister Paritala Sunitha, who’s a part of the team, recently stated that the plan at the moment is to start a 100 canteens in Visakhapatnam, Nellimara, Rajam, Tirupati, Srikakulam, Anantapur, Hindupur, Kurnool and Kakinada. The Velagapudi canteen on the other hand reportedly sees an overwhelming response, seeing not less than 700 people per day on an average. However, the Amma Canteens in Chennai and the canteens in Hyderabad will be visited once more before any decision is taken.
While there are conflicting reports now about the price of different kinds of rice that will be served at the Anna Canteens, initial reports state that the state government will price idly at Rs 1, 200 gms of Pongal or Tomato Bath at Rs 5, 200 gms of sambar rice, pulihora or vegetable rice at Rs 5 and 150 gms of curd rice will cost Rs 3. It is the CM’s aim to feed every poor person in the state via these canteens. His goal is to “ensure that even the poorest of the poor have three meals a day and they do not go hungry to bed.”