S. Sumangala of V.V. Puram popped a few grains of rice from the bag she had purchased into her mouth. “It's hard; looks like it's old rice. The quality is good,” she said.

She was one of the many who thronged the National High School grounds to buy rice and wheat at the Akki Santhe organised by the Department of Food and Civil Supplies. A 50 kg bag of rice was sold for Rs. 650 and wheat, Rs. 475. This means that one kg of rice cost Rs. 13 and wheat, Rs. 9.50.

This santhe will be on till Sunday and similar ones will be held in Bommanahalli on August 28 and in Jayanagar on September 2. “We will hold the santhe in all the 224 Assembly constituencies. This is the Government's way of addressing the problem of rise in prices of essential commodities,” said Food and Civil Supplies Minister R. Ashok.

The two primary cereals will also be made available at the department's warehouses also.

Half the price

Clearly the attractive pricing drew people from far-flung areas such as Bettadahalli in K.R. Puram. “The price of the rice here is less than 50 per cent of the market price,” said Basavaraju, who came with two neighbours. “All of us bought a bag each of rice and wheat. We are now looking for a bus to go home,” he said.

Shambulingaiah came all the way from Vijayanagar. “My friend, who runs a grocery shop and from whom I buy regularly, suggested that I come here,” he said, hauling his two bags of rice and wheat into his car.

Excellent response

As many as 800 quintals of rice and 400 of wheat were snapped up within an hour of the santhe's opening. “We're bringing additional stocks as and when the supply is exhausted,” an official said.

This is the second time the department is organising the santhe. In September last year, it undertook one at Bommanahalli in which rice mill owners participated.

More In: Bengaluru