It was allocated 1.86 lakh tonnes in September

Tamil Nadu has lifted over 45 per cent of rice given under the special allotment.

In the wake of the Supreme Court's order in August to give food grains to the poor at “very low cost” or “no cost,” the State was allotted 1.86 lakh tonnes of rice in September.

In terms of quantity of allotment, Tamil Nadu ranks next to Maharashtra, which has been sanctioned about 2 lakh tonnes of rice, according to Swaran Singh, State Principal Secretary (Food and Civil Supplies).

As of now, Tamil Nadu has lifted around 85,000 tonnes. The stipulation is that the entire quantity has to be taken by March 2011. “Going by the present rate of drawal, we will lift the entire quantity by January,” Mr. Singh says.

Under the special allotment, rice is supplied by the Centre to States at Rs.5.65 per kg. This is meant for Below Poverty Line (BPL) families. But, in Tamil Nadu, 1.9 crore family card holders get rice at Re.1 a kg.

Early this year, the Central government had allotted 1.48 lakh tonnes of rice in response to the request of the State government. The issue price was Rs.11.65 per kg. The State drew 1.3 lakh tonnes.

Mr. Singh makes it clear that apart from these out-of-turn allotments, the State continues to get rice in the normal course.

In 2010, about 38.3 lakh tonnes were allotted, of which 31.6 lakh tonnes were distributed through the public distribution system (PDS) till October end.

On an average, 3.17 lakh tonnes are being given monthly to the card holders, the official points out.

As a sequel to deliberations of the meeting chaired by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi late last month to review food position in the State, 9,115 family cards in Chennai have been restored. They formed part of 9,766 cards, on which “stop supply” instructions had been issued. The remaining 651 cards have been found not eligible for the relaxation of norms.

The department has been carrying out an intensive drive of inspection of ration shops. Till now, 10, 371 shops have been inspected all over the State. Besides, the Food Secretary, Managing Director of Civil Supplies Corporation, Commissioner of Civil Supplies and the Registrar of Cooperative Societies have been inspecting shops in Chennai.