An e-tracking system to monitor the transport of Public Distribution System (PDS) commodities from godowns to the ration shops has been launched in Tiruchi district.

Tiruchi is the third district in the State to get the system after Tiruvallur and Krishnagiri.

The system, launched by the Department of Cooperation through an agreement signed with the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, would help prevent diversion or theft of ration commodities en route and ensure prompt supplies to the ration shops, officials said.

Under the system, mobile phone connections have been provided to a ‘closed user group’ of 11 clerks and 36 escorts who are responsible for the transport of ration commodities from eight godowns to about 1,035 shops run by the Department of Cooperation in the district. Each shop gets supplies twice a month.

The system was formally launched on Friday with Collector T.Soundiah handing over the SIM cards for the mobile phones to the Cooperation Department officials and employees. Rama. Jayampandian, Joint Registrar of Cooperatives, M.Sirajudeen, Deputy Registrar, PDS, and J.Palaneeswari, Special Officer, Chinthamani Supermarket, were present.

A control room has been established at the Deputy Registrar, PDS, from where the movement of the commodities through trucks could be monitored through Global Positioning System (GPS). Officials could monitor the movement of the commodities by just dialing the mobile number of the escort of a particular vehicle. The exact location of a particular vehicle could be seen on a map. The movement of commodities could also be monitored from the office of the Registrar of Cooperatives in Chennai.

The system, officials said, would ensure that the clerks and escorts reported for duty promptly. Officials could verify whether the trucks report at the godowns for loading before 9 a.m. and unload at the ration shops at the specified time. The system would also have a provision to trace the history of the movement of a particular consignment.