The Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) has identified sites within the city to set up 24 Anna canteens.
As a majority of the sites belong to other departments, Andhra Pradesh municipal administration and urban development department (MAUD) is in touch with the departments concerned to acquire the land.
Case in point would be the plot for the proposed Anna Canteen near Turner’s Choultry belongs to the endowments department. Similarly, the proposed Anna Canteen to come up near Government Regional Eye Hospital belongs to the department of health. The state government plans to open at least one canteen by June 2.
Initially, the state proposed constructing centralized kitchens on its own at a few key locations to supply food to the canteens. Now, however, the government has withdrawn the idea and has decided to rope in a private agencies, such as Akshayapatra, for the purpose.
In the run-up to the general elections 2014, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) had promised to set up Anna Canteens across the city. Now, at a time when the 2019 general elections are imminent, the project has again gained traction. The TDP hopes that its populist scheme will help endear the urban poor and the floating population to the party.
The Amma Canteens in Tamil Nadu, as well as the Annapurna canteens in Hyderabad, were an instant success. The scheme helped gain votes for the respective governments in the recent elections, according to observers.
The GVMC urban community development project director D Srinivasan said “We have identified suitable places for all the canteens,” said Srinivasan. When asked about the price and the menu, Srinivasan said that the government will appoint a private agency and decide on them.
Last year, the state government had sent a delegation of commissioners from various civic bodies of AP, including GVMC commissioner M Hari Narayanan, to Hyderabad and Chennai to observe the functioning of Annapurna canteens and Amma canteens.
The team noted that the standard menu and price on an average is Rs 5 for breakfast, Rs 10 for lunch and Rs 10 for dinner. As per their report, the total cost for providing a meal for three times a day was Rs 57. While customer pays Rs 25, the rest is subsidized by governments.