Amaravathi: The Andhra Pradesh government has closed the Anna canteens, which provide meals at Rs 5 for the poor and middle class people, due to non-renewal of its contract with the Akshaya Patra Foundation.
Last year, the state government under N Chandrababu Naidu had launched around 300 Anna canteens after the name of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) founder and former chief minister Nandamuri Taraka Ramarao (NTR).
After coming to power, the YSRCP government decided in principle to change the name to Rajanna canteens after the late Rajasekhara Reddy. However, the move currently stands on hold as the agreement with existing food supplying agency expired on July 31, 2019.
The YSRCP government has either done away with or renamed many schemes implemented during the TDP rule. All the schemes announced by the new government during the last two months have been named after Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy's father and former chief minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy.
Minister for Municipal Affairs Botsa Satyanarayana has said that the closure is temporary and the government will renew the contract agreement with the agency soon. The minister also said that the canteens, which have low response will be closed and the remaining will work as usual, soon.
Opposition TDP leaders slammed the YSRCP government’s decision to shut down the Anna canteens calling it a move that will adversely affect the poor. Anna canteens have been a source of affordable food for the poor in the state, including labourers and beggars.
Meanwhile, there is no clarity on how long will it take for the authorities to re-open the canteens with the new name and colour.