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TDP MLA provides meal at Rs 5 outside Andhra hospital

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MLA from Visakhapatnam South and ex-Army soldier Vasupalli Ganesh Kumar has been serving meals to poor people at Rs 5 by investing his own money at King George Hospital (KGH) Anna Canteen, after Ann Canteens were closed by the YSRCP government.

Anna Canteens, which provided meals at Rs 5 to the poor and the middle class, were shut down across Andhra Pradesh by the state government last month. Daily wage labourers, beggars and others who thronged the canteens every day found them locked.

With the outsourcing agency stopping supply of food following the state government's orders, all canteens of Andhra downed their shutters.

Daily thousands of people from all north-Andhra districts visit KGH for treatment. At least 500 to 600 people and patients used to eat food at KGH Anna canteen. Ganesh Kumar started serving food by investing his own money from last week.

Kumar 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. "10,000 poor people visit KGH hospital for treatment. Even they don't have much money. I am myself serving and providing food to at least 500 to 600 people at KGH Anna Canteen with my own money. I will serve meals every day until the YSRCP government reopens Anna canteens again," he said.

"We don't have any problem if the canteen's name is changed. But canteen should be reopened and food should be served to poor people. Think with humanity not politics," Kumar added.

On the other hand, the YSRCP government, led by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, has assured that this shutdown is temporary and that it would re-launch the scheme with certain modifications.

Launched by the previous Telugu Desam Party (TDP)-led government, the new dispensation has decided to streamline the canteens.

Meanwhile, there is still no clarity as to how long it will take for the authorities to re-open the canteens with new name and colour.