Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: The State government will supply Grade ‘A’ variety of rice for the Rs. two-a-kg scheme for white cardholders to be launched on April 9. The Grade ‘A’ variety is available in the open market at Rs. 12 to 15 a kg.

The government has moved 3.3 lakh tonnes of rice for distribution under the scheme and other programmes, including mid-day meal.

All the 41,943 fair price shops in the State would receive the stock latest by Sunday, Civil Supplies Commissioner Poonam Malakondaiah told a press conference here on Friday.

She said except the price, there would be no change in rules of issue of rice to white cardholders under the Public Distribution System. The rice presently sold in the PDS at Rs. 5.50 a kg would be distributed to 1.88 crore households at the subsidised price.

Just as the existing rules for white cards, each cardholder would be entitled to a maximum of 20 kg at the rate of four kg per head.

The cost to the government on account of the subsidy would be Rs. 158 crore a month.

Social audit

The Commissioner said the official machinery was fully geared to implement the scheme after assessing the danger of the rice being diverted by fair price shop dealers to black market.

It had taken adequate precautions to meet the threat by finalising social audit of the programme at gram sabhas in every village from April 15 to 20 for the current month.

The dealers would be required to prove the contrary if villagers complained about hoarding of stocks.

The programme would also be monitored by district-level flying squads, surprise visits to mandal-level stock points and fair price shops and tightening of check-posts.

Ms. Malakondaiah warned that no fair price shop could display ‘no stock’ board as the government was in a comfortable position with regard to procurement and despatch of rice.

The shop owners would be advised to phase out the distribution process locality-wise to avoid rush at the premises.