They will remain closed on the first two Fridays every month, announces Food Minister

Fair price shops in the State will henceforth function on the first two Sundays of the month.

Announcing this in the Assembly on Monday, the Food Minister, R. Kamaraj, said that the decision to keep the shops open on Sundays was taken in the interest of the public, especially women and office goers. Most of the offices observed Sunday as holiday and in many households both the spouses were employed. The fair price shops would remain closed on the first two Fridays, in lieu of Sunday.

A Rs 60.89-crore proposal had been forwarded to the Union government for end-to-end computerisation of the public distribution system. The system of monitoring sales and stock in PDS shops through SMS, now implemented in Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur as a pilot scheme, would be extended to the entire State in due course, the Minister said.

Steps would be initiated during 2013-14 to extend the scheme of providing biometric family cards to Ariyalur, Karur, Tiruchi, Perambalur, Cuddalore and Tiruvarur districts. They would be issued on the basis of National Population Register and enumeration was now under way in Pudukottai district where the scheme was introduced last year.

In order to minimise the delay in weighing commodities in the godowns of Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation, 229 weigh bridges with a higher capacity of 1500 kg each would be installed at a cost of Rs. 1.3 crore. Seven more mills of the TNCSC would be modernised at a cost of Rs. 32.6 crore.

With the objective of having one Food Cell police unit in each district, the government had decided to open new units in Kancheepuram, Villupuram, Dharmapuri, Namakkal, Karur, The Nilgiris, Perambalur, Ariyalur, Pudukottai, Tiruvarur, Sivaganga and Ramanathapuram. Mr. Kamaraj said that Rs. 9.33 crore would be spent on the creation of new units.

Replying to the debate on the demand for grants for Department of Food and Consumer Protection, Mr. Kamaraj announced the sanction of Rs. 30 crore for providing building and machinery for 100 direct paddy procurement centres in the Delta region. A sum of Rs. 7 crore would be spent on creating drying yards in 100 DPCs of the region that had their own buildings.

As a price control initiative, one lakh tonnes of rice would be offloaded in the open market for sale at a price of Rs. 20 a kg for sale through Amudham Stores, cooperative stores and special outlets. The Price Stabilisation Fund, for which the allocation had been enhanced to Rs. 100 crore from Rs. 50 crore, would be utilised to procure 10, 000 tonnes of fine variety rice through tenders.

The Minister for Cooperation, Sellur K. Raju, announced the launch of 100 mobile PDS shops for the benefit of people living in hilly areas.

The Minister, who was replying to a debate on demand for grants for Department of Cooperation, said that Rs. 39.9 lakh had been offered to Kilakkadu and Mottampatti multipurpose cooperative societies in Villupuram district and Ravanapuram primary agriculture cooperative society, Tirupur district, for procuring vehicles to supply essential commodities in hilly and inaccessible rural areas.

The government, Mr. Raju said, would sanction Rs. 12.5 crore as share capital subsidy for Adi Dravidars and tribal people; Rs. 25 lakh for 1000 women and Rs. 50 lakh for physically challenged people for becoming members of cooperative societies.

Twenty-three district central cooperative banks would get Rs. 7.5 crore to establish ATMs in 50 locations in order to bring their service up on par with commercial banks.

Strong rooms would be provided to 50 primary agriculture cooperative societies and 25 farmers’ cooperative marketing societies at a cost of Rs. 3.75 crore.

Surveillance cameras would be installed at a cost of Rs. 1.06 crore in 200 primary agriculture cooperative societies, Mr. Raju said. One hundred and eighteen cooperative societies in Vellore, Karur, Dindigul, Nagapattinam and Sivaganga districts would get solar light receivers at a cost of Rs. 2.61 crore and solar copra dryers would be given at a cost of Rs. 19.5 lakh for cooperative societies in Rudrapalayam, Devanurpudur and Manupatti of Tirupur district.

Cooperative super markets in Cuddalore, Thanjavur, Chandrasekarapuram and Pollachi would be renovated and modernised at a cost of Rs 80 lakh.

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