Weighing-cum-point of sale machines to be set
The Andhra Pradesh State Civil Supplies Corporation will soon be providing electronic weighing-cum-point of sale machines at Mandal-Level Stock (MLS) points and fair price shops in 10 districts on a pilot basis to check pilferage of groceries sold under the Public Distribution System (PDS).
Greater emphasis has been laid on curbing bulk diversion of commodities, particularly rice, from the MLS points. For this purpose, transport contractors are being appointed at the division level instead of only one for a district, and steps are taken for proper tracking of the vehicles using GPS devices. All vehicles engaged under the PDS would be painted with a particular colour.
The focus was on checking diversions, which were bound to increase after the ‘Mana Biyyam’ scheme started, said Civil Supplies Vice-Chairman and Managing Director D. Varaprasad at a press conference here on Thursday, after taking stock of the situation in a regional workshop on strengthening MLS points.
Under Mana Biyyam, rice milled from paddy grown in the local area would be supplied to the local white cardholders.
The scheme entails an annual expenditure of Rs. 12,000 crore, of which the Central government’s contribution is 75 per cent. The acquisition cost of rice distributed under the scheme is Rs. 25.55 per kg.
The government’s subsidy component and cardholder payment are Rs. 24.55 and Re. 1 respectively. Nearly, 2.30 crore white cardholders would benefit under the scheme with monthly allotment standing at 3.20 lakh tonnes.
The APSCSC took upon itself the entire responsibility of procuring, transporting, storing, and distributing rice, thereby eliminating the role of the Food Corporation of India in rice procurement.
Mr. Varaprasad said the APSCSC District Managers were instructed to get the mandatory physical verifications of MLS points done promptly so that diversion of commodities could be checked.
There were several instances of bulk diversions in Guntur and Prakasam districts and necessary steps were taken to prevent such offences in future. Cases of recycling of rice and delivery of the same to the APSCSC and the FCI were also noticed.
The officials of APSCSC were asked to make a comprehensive assessment of the storage space available at the MLS points, security and other aspects, and take steps required for reaching the goals, Mr. Varaprasad said, and added that it was proposed to introduce four essential commodities — iodised salt, chilli powder, turmeric, and tamarind — under the PDS in addition to sugar, wheat, and red gram.