Confirmation follows confusion about extent of validity at some fair price shops on Thursday

Ration card holders now have time until February 27 to extend the validity of their cards.

The Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation confirmed this on Thursday, bringing relief to harried residents.

The confirmation came in the wake of confusion on Thursday at a few ration shops in the city, where hundreds thronged in the belief that January 24 was the last day to extend the validity of their cards.

A fair price shop in Viswanathapuram, Kodambakkam was packed from early Thursday morning onwards, as personnel at the shop had told consumers that this was the last day to extend the validity of their ration cards.

A. Krishnan, a 75-year-old resident of Viswanathapuram, said he had visited the shop for fourth time this month after shop personnel sent him back thrice, without pasting the required sheet on the card, citing one reason or the other.

“None of us were aware that the date had been extended till the end of February. The shop personnel repeatedly told us that Thursday would be the final day,” he added.

Another resident of the area, S. Vasudevan, alleged that shop personnel had refused to paste the slip on his ration card even when there was relatively smaller crowd when he came on Wednesday.

“It is a painful ordeal to wait for hours under the sun just to extend the validity of the ration card. There are just two personnel to deal with hundreds of people. I don’t buy commodities using the card – I just use it as a document for proof of address,” he said.

In Kannagi Nagar too, there was some confusion as personnel at a fair price shop there had told consumers that the extension of validity procedure would be carried out until January 31.

When asked about the lack of clarity about the deadline, personnel at both shops said they had not received any official intimation regarding the final date.

There are over 1,600 fair price shops in the city. In order to avoid overcrowding and give all consumers a chance to extend the validity of their cards, the shops had alloted a fixed date for a few hundred consumers at a time. This procedure was to be repeated till all the cards had their validities extended.

However, confusion over the procedure has prevailed, and was added to by the State government’s announcement on January 7 that the process would be temporarily stopped between January 8 and 17 for the distribution of Pongal gifts at fair price shops. — one kg of rice, one kg of sugar and Rs. 100—to all eligible card-holders

Officials said the process would resume after Pongal. However, several consumers’ allotted dates fell between January 8 and 17, and they had to be accommodated in the next cycle from January 18 to 24. This led to delays and procedural hassles, residents said.

An official at the civil supplies corporation said that for the next month, beginning January 28, all fair price shops in the city will attach the extension slip to the ration card of any consumer who missed his or her designated date.

To complete the procedure as soon as possible, all the shops would work on two Sundays as well – February 3 and 10, the official added. However, consumers will only be able to receive their quota of commodities for February after extending their cards’ validity.

“The personnel at many shops may have misinformed consumers, which is likely to have caused the confusion today,” We have warned the personnel and pasted a notice with the actual deadline at these shops,” the official said.

In case of a problem, consumers can contact the following numbers: 044 28592828, 7299998002, 8680018002 and 7200018001.

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