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186 PDS stores siphon off grains, lose licences

186 PDS stores siphon off grains, lose licences

BENGALURU: The Department of Food and Civil Supplies has cancelled the licences of 186 fair price shops (ration shops) since April for irregularities such as charging people for free grains, and is taking action against other errant owners. Officials of the Food and Civil Supplies and Legal Metrology departments have been keeping a close watch on 19,000 fair price shops in Karnataka since the national lockdown was announced at the end of March. At many shops, grains were not being provided according to rules, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies K Gopalaiah told The New Indian Express. In some places for instance, owners charged Rs 10-30 per kg of grains even though they are to be given free.

At others, owners refused to provide grains even though people had portability cards which allowed them to procure ration if a family changed residences within the state. Gopalaiah said he received 10-15 calls about such complaints each day. “I myself have spoken to shop owners several times, but the system is rotten. It is unfortunate that poor people are being fleeced during a pandemic. We will not spare such people. We have already sent notices to many owners. People can complain to me, to officials, or call the helpline.

This is a warning —licences will be cancelled if repeated complaints are made,” he said. The government, which recently introduced a variety of grains, is now increasing the quantity provided. “Jowar will be given to card holders in North Karnataka, and ragi and rice in the Old Mysore region. Since 80,000 MT of jowar is being procured, it is being distributed to people in Raichur and Ballari,’’ he said. Currently, people in the Old Mysuru region get two kg of ragi per person, but starting next month, this will increase to 5kg of rice per person, 2kg of wheat and 2kg of channa per family, he said.



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