Four salesmen to be suspended, the rest fined

Exposing the rot that has set in public distribution system (PDS), a surprise inspection conducted at the instructions of Collector L. Subramanian in eight different ration shops in the district on Saturday has revealed irregularities of bogus billing in all the eight shops.

According to District Supply Officer (DSO) K. Latha, a total of 10 teams conducted a similar inspection in the shops at Tirumangalam taluk a week ago. But the information about the inspection leaked and the teams were not able to succeed much in culling out the irregularities.

“Therefore, this time the Collector ordered for a sudden inspection and we were able to recommend for suspension of four salesmen who were found to have indulged in irregularities worth Rs. 2,000 and above and imposition of fine on the rest of the four salesmen,” she said.

The inspection on Saturday was conducted at Pasumalai, Silaiman, Paravai, Chinthamani, Koodal Nagar and Bethaniapuram among others. The inspection teams visited around 100 houses in each area and cross-checked their ration card entries with the supply register maintained in the shops.

Asked about complaints of the salesmen forcing people to purchase tea dust and wheat flour packets costing Rs. 13 and Rs. 41 respectively, the DSO said that she had received such complaints from shops run by the Cooperative department and it was up to that department to initiate action.

In so far as shortage of oil in ration shops was concerned, she said that the requirement of the district was around seven lakh packets. But the supply was only 3.5 lakh packets.

“It is a Statewide problem as the supply to almost all districts had been reduced by 50 per cent,” she said.

Similarly, the allotment of wheat had reduced from 800 tonnes to around 300 tonnes.

Replying to a question on ration shops insisting on knowing the caste of card holders, she said that it was being asked for distribution of free Saris and Dhotis during Pongal.

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