Telangana cuisine on Delhi's AP Bhavan menu

Traditionally, the ‘meals ready’ sign outside restaurants in and around Hyderabad meant mouth-watering spicy ‘Andhra’ food, cooked in coastal Andhra style. Not anymore. In a city post bifurcation, the tension is spilling over simpler things in life such as menu cards and restaurant names. So is the case with Delhi’s Andhra Bhavan.

The pungency of the battle of bifurcation has led to a duel over the ownership of two of Delhi’s landmarks -- Hyderabad House, where the Indian Government throws lavish dinners for visiting foreign dignitaries and its humbler cousin of cuisine Andhra Pradesh Bhavan, which hosts the cafeteria that first introduced delicious Andhra food to Delhiites and people hailing from Andhra Pradesh.

KCR made a statement in December 2013 that, "It was Nizam's property once and therefore, it belongs to Telangana state. We will call it Telangana Bhavan."

Andhra Bhavan in Delhi is the place where most people from AP enjoyed having lunch and dinner at a cheap price. It serves quality food at an amazingly low price that kept them coming back. It's the assurance that within 30 minutes they will be seated, served and ready to leave after a well-served, filling meal.

The menu card had simple Andhra food but now it’s going to change its menu, there will be an addition of Telangana dishes. Non-vegetarian side dishes range from chicken and mutton fry to more recent additions of fish fry and prawn curry introduced only a couple of years ago. The menu has never changed but for the two seafood additions.

There are 179 employees in Andhra Bhavan, of which 90 work full time. 13 of them hail from Telangana. Of these 10 are cadre level employees. Nearly 32 are from AP and the rest are from other states.

Employees from AP do not want to work for those from Telangana. Union member Dashrath says, “We feel cheated; we do not want to work with them anymore.”

Sridhar of Nizamabad echoes, “We do not want to work with Andhra people anymore.”

The Bhavan has been the birthplace of many historic events such as the discussions that led to the formation of the National Front Government in 1989 and the United Front Government in 1996. In 1987, the Bhavan hosted a conclave of non-Congress Chief Ministers to revive anti-Congress forces. It was N T Rama Rao, former CM and founder of the TDP, who opened the AP Bhavan canteen.

There are 66 rooms in the three blocks of Andhra Bhavan---Godavari, Sabari and Swarnamukhi. 40 rooms are allotted to Andhra and 26 to Telangana. The other amenities are used by both the states.

Shashank Goel, Commissioner of AP Bhavan, says, “We are awaiting KCR’s arrival and maybe he will sit with the union and sort it out. We have also made arrangements for him to stay here on his arrival.”

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