They have been told to return additional amount to beneficiaries

The office of the Food and Civil Supplies Department has initiated action against the owners of three fair price shops following complaints that they charged more than the price fixed for rice distributed under the Anna Bhagya scheme.

K. Rameshwarappa, Deputy Director of Food and Civil Supplies, told The Hindu on Wednesday that he had received complaints from Belur, Arsikere and Holenarsipur. The shopkeepers had demanded more than Re. 1 for a kg of rice from the beneficiaries. “I had held meetings twice to instruct the shopkeepers not to charge more than the price fixed by the government. Despite the instructions, a few had demanded more,” he said.

On action taken against them, he said in the larger interest of the scheme and the public, the attention now would be on ensuring smooth distribution of foodgrains. “We have issued notices to the shopkeepers and asked them to return the additional amount to the beneficiaries. We will take further action according to the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 after distribution for the current month is over,” he said. The officer said the district had been allotted 1,08,650 quintals of rice and it would be sufficient for distribution among BPL card holders and Antyodaya card holders. Apart from rice, 1,600 quintals of wheat and 1,680 kl of kerosene had been allotted to the district.

Levy rice

The government has set a target of procuring 1,310 tonnes of levy rice in Hassan district for 2012-13. However, the department has procured only 130 tonnes of rice so far from mill owners.

“There are 130 rice mills in the district. The government has extended the deadline to meet the target to July 31. We have issued show-cause notices to the rice mill owners who have not yet sold the levy rice,” Mr. Rameshwarappa said.

The quantity of rice to be provided by rice mills is fixed based of the business done by each mill, which is measured by taking into account power consumption.

The District Manager of Karnataka Food and Civil Supplies Corporation has opened centres in Arkalgud, Hassan, Holenarsipur and Sakleshpur to procure levy rice.

K.P. Mohan Raj, Deputy Commissioner, has issued an order directing rice mill owners to surrender levy rice. The government has fixed price in the range of Rs. 1,989.30 to Rs. 2,044.40 for a quintal of levy rice to be procured from rice mills.