As a mark of protest against the recent closure of Anna Canteens throughout the state by the YSRCP government, the TDP members distributed food as “Anna Daanam” to the public outside the closed canteens in Visakhapatnam. The decision to close the canteens by the government had drawn sharp criticism from women employees at the canteens who said that they would lose employment with there being no alternative employment opportunities.
TDP MLA from Visakhapatnam (East), Velagapudi Ramakrishna Babu, led the protest outside the Anna Canteen at MVP Colony by serving food to the public. He said that the canteens were started by former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu to provide the poor with healthy, well-rounded meals at nominal costs. He continued that the YSRCP government closed the canteens purely for political reasons and hence, he demanded that they are reopened.
Vasupalli Ganesh Kumar, TDP’s MLA in Visakhapatnam (South), who was protesting outside the Anna canteen near King George Hospital, said that the government’s decision has negatively impacted the lives of those living in the area as well as the patients at the Hospital. Many other candidates such as the ones at Thatichetlapalem and Gopalapatnam contributed in the protests with protestors raising slogans against the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government.
Anna Canteens were launched in July last year by the TDP government in a bid to facilitate the poor with three-time meals at only Rs. 5. On 1 August this year, the newly-formed YSRCP government had shut down all the Anna Canteens, making allegations against the TDP. With the supply of food being stopped due to the government orders, the canteens registered their last meal on 31 July. The YSRCP government had earlier assured that the canteens will be reopened soon with modifications in the scheme.