Hyderabad: Already dubbed a godsend for the poor, Telangana’s Rs 5 Annapurna Meal Scheme is all set to go for another thoughtful makeover, this time with much-needed seating arrangements and shelters to be added. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), which runs the scheme, one of the biggest public feeding programmes in the country, is making arrangements to serve the hot and hygienic meals for Rs 5 in a much more welcoming ambience.
The Annapurna canteens in the Kukatpally Zone, which earlier functioned from small stalls with the customers standing around it to have the food, are being renovated with seating arrangements, apart from roofs to keep the rains out during monsoon and the hot sun away during summer.
The first canteen to have these facilities will be the one opposite the GHMC zonal office in Kukatpally. Similar canteens will be set up at five more places, according to V Mamatha, Zonal Commissioner (Kukatpally). “These renovated canteens have seating arrangements, shade, lighting and a decent cafe ambience. Five more such canteens will be made available to people in the Kukatpally zone soon,” she said.
Colourful interiors, comfortable seating arrangements, proper ventilation and colourful boards at the entrance welcoming customers are being put in place. The Kukatpally canteen in particular is popular among workers hailing from Srikakulam, Odisha and other parts of the country working in construction sites in Moosapet and surroundings.
The Rs 5 meals comprise freshly and hygienically cooked rice, vegetable curry, sambar and pickles and are served by the GHMC in association with the Hare Krishna Movement Charitable Trust. The GHMC, following instructions from Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, had offered the food twice a day, that too for free, during the lockdown last year and this year as well. More than five crore meals were served across the State during the lockdown in 2020, with the initiative winning praise even from UNESCO.
Currently, there are about 200 Annapurna canteens in the GHMC limits, with over 60,000 people, mostly the poor on the streets and daily wage labourers, relishing the affordable hot meals every day.
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