Government fair price shopkeepers in the city are finding it difficult and time consuming to update records with phone numbers of consumers as per a government order. The consumers' names are in no particular order in the list and shopkeepers have to look through hundreds of names to spot the consumer's name, they said.

Dinesh, who runs a fair price shop near Ramakrishna Math, said that a search for each consumer's name took five minutes.

With 850 consumers, he had to look through the list that many times to find a name.

Since the list was computer-generated, the data could have been easily put into alphabetical or numerical order with a single click. “It is a small negligence,” he said.

Sometimes, he tells the consumers to find their names themselves.

However, consumers look through the lists twice. Shalini, a consumer, missed her name as it was second in the list and scrolled twice through the entire list. She and Vimala, from Yemmekere, said they did not know why they had to add phone numbers.

Bennett D'Mello, a shopkeeper in Bolar Cross Road near Mulihithlu, said that in the list he had there was a semblance of order in the numbers.

However, he said that adding phone numbers was “an unnecessary and pointless exercise.” If the aim was to keep track of the consumer, what was the use of recording a number if he changed his mobile number the next day, he said.

In Bolar, Taranath, another PDS shopkeeper, said he had no problem as the names in the list were in an order. There was some delay as each consumer's name had to be located.

The task was adding to his work of weighing the commodities bought and updating the transaction in the ration cards.

With no help available, he was finding it so difficult to run the shop that he had decided to give up minding the shop.

Some shopkeepers said they were fed up of updating lists with various numbers, including the RR number of electricity bill (required during the check on gas connections about six months ago), its verification, and now, phone numbers.

Deputy Director of Food and Civil Supplies Sharanabasappa said here could have been a rare case of a list with jumbled data.

Data from shops across the State was taken and sorted according to wards and not according to shops.

Consumers could search for their names and ask the shopkeeper for assistance if required. The aim was updating consumers with arrival, availability, and rate of commodities.

Mr. Sharanabasappa said that soon PDS shops would get electronic devices at point of sale (POS). The fingerprint identity-based machine would provide the consumer billing details, including the quantity of commodities bought and remaining. A pilot project had been implemented in Tumkur and officials were being trained in operating the machine.

Dakshina Kannada has 18,853 Antyodaya cards (for the poorest of the poor), 1,58,000 BPL cards, and 1,94,000 APL cards. As of today, 250 of the 17,000 cardholders listed for not producing electricity bills had paid, he said.


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