Special Correspondent

16 lakh BPL families to benefit

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State Civil Supplies Corporation (Supplyco) will introduce consumer privilege cards with accident insurance cover, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies Adoor Prakash announced here on Friday.

The cards will be given to more than 16-lakh below-the-poverty-line (BPL) ration-card holders free of charge. Farmers and others will get it for an annual fee of Rs.30. The Minister told presspersons that the cardholders would get an accident insurance cover of Rs.1 lakh (payable on death or disablement). Medical treatment of up to Rs.10,000 for accident-related injuries would also be covered.

Federal Bank would advance farm loans of up to Rs.50,000 to cardholders at an interest rate of 8 per cent a year. Interest concessions would be available on gold loans also. There would be an insurance cover of up to Rs.10,000 on such loans in case of death or disablement by accident. Besides, two dependent children would get educational assistance of up to Rs.5,000 each. A dependent daughter would get Rs.10,000 to cover marriage expenses.

The Supplyco, Mr. Prakash said, would provide two per cent discount on purchases from its stores, such as Neethi medical stores, by cardholders. The card could also be used for payment of telephone and other bills.

The Minister said the scheme would be launched on February 1, along with that for providing rice at Rs.3 a kg for BPL families. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy would inaugurate rice distribution and Minister for Finance Vakkom Purushothaman would launch the consumer card at a function at Varkala. Mr. Prakash said he had convened a meeting of ration shop owners on Friday as a prelude to launching of the distribution of subsidised rice.