Seek reopening of subsidiary ration outlet closed recently

Protesting the recent closure of subsidiary ration outlets in the district, about 200 locals , mostly women drawn from Melapanaiyur in Mudukulatur block, picketed the Collectorate on Tuesday. They surrendered their ration cards and demanded that the outlets be reopened.

Led by village leader L. Goindan and Keezhachirupodur Panchayat president S. Geetha, the protestors condemned the move by the district administration to wind up the ration shop in their village and merge it with the main ration shop located at Keezhachirupodur, 7 km away.

Following reports of malpractice, the district administration had integrated more than 70 ration shops located at various sub-centres with the main outlets in August, but the move drew protests from a cross-section of the local population. Ms. Geetha said the ration shop in Melapanaiyur had been functioning for the past two decades and the sudden merger posed problems to the 180 card holders in the village. They could not visit the main shop, which was poorly connected and, therefore, difficult to access, she said. Card holders, mostly poor people and farm workers, had been struggling to cope without essential commodities for the past two months, she pointed out.

But officials suggested that card holders in Melapanaiyur could get them from the ration shop at Kamatchipuram, which was only about 1.5 km away, if they could not visit the main shop. The villagers rejected the suggestion saying that it would result in communal tension.

The villagers, however, ended their agitation after officials assured them that the shop would be opened within a week. They returned home after collecting their ration cards, which they had brought in two bags and offloaded at the Collectorate in protest.