Announcing the intention of the State government to clean up the public distribution system (PDS) in the State by weeding out bogus ration cards, Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies Dinesh Gundu Rao on Friday warned fair price shop owners to surrender all bogus ration cards by December 31 or face action.

Mr. Dinesh Gundu Rao, who was addressing presspersons here, said that those who surrendered bogus cards would be spared but those caught would face the consequences. He said that Deputy Commissioners in the districts would be told to convene a meeting of fair price shop owners and apprise them of the intention of the government.

The shop owners too would be booked, if found guilty, he warned. The Deputy Commissioners would direct the officials on which shop to inspect. Erring shop owners would be booked and their licences cancelled. Food inspectors must inspect shops compulsorily every month and submit reports.

Besides, loss would be recovered from them. Intensive checks on shops in Bangalore had revealed a number of bogus cards (consumers did not exist) and eight food inspectors had been placed under suspension, the Minister said.

Action was initiated against a Deputy Director and a manager in Raichur and Koppal districts for lapses recently.

The verification of ration cards, all categories, was being done in the entire State, along with scrutiny of new applications. Some districts had shown good progress while others lagged behind, he said.

More than 1.50 lakh new applications had been received in Mysore district for ration cards, particularly below poverty line, of which 60,000 had been verified by the department officials. The rest of the applications would be verified by the month-end and the process of issuing new cards would start from the next month, the Minister said

Kerosene

Kerosene could be brought under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme in the State, on the lines of LPG, in view of the fact that Mysore district had made good strides under the Aadhaar-linked scheme, he said. The Rajasthan government had initiated such a process, which was working well. The modalities were being worked out.

The department had enhanced commission (per quintal) to agents — rice from Rs. 31 to 36, wheat from Rs. 25 to 36 and sugar from Rs. 13 to 36 — aimed at providing sops to shop owners. The quantity of foodgrains too had been increased considerably, he said. As a matter of principle, it had been decided to ensure that foodgrains reached fair price shops by the last day of the month.

The owners must keep their shops open from the first to the 10th of every month to supply foodgrains, he said. The Minister also averred that fair price shop owners could sell other items on their premises, apart from the items allotted under the PDS.

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