S. Vydhianathan

Officials attribute it to effective anti-smuggling measures

  • There was widespread diversion of rice to open market immediately after scheme was introduced
  • Government took a series of measures, including detention of smugglers under the Goondas Act

    CHENNAI: Offtake of rice under the public distribution system (PDS), which crossed three lakh tonnes in June after the introduction of Rs. 2 a kg scheme, came down by 24,000 tonnes in July. About 2.81 lakh tonnes were sold through PDS shopsagainst 3.05 lakh tonnes in June.

    Food department officials here said the fall was due to effective anti-smuggling measures.

    There was widespread diversion of ration rice to the open market immediately after the scheme was introduced. It yielded a profit of at least Rs. 5 a kg. The Government swung into action and announced a series of measures, including detention of smugglers under the Goondas Act, close monitoring of the State borders and surprise checks at fair price shops. The officials hoped that the monthly offtake would stabilise around 2.8 lakh tonnes.

    Samba paddy procurement by the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation in the current season will cross 13 lakh tonnes against the target of 12 lakh tonnes. So far, the corporation has procured 12.85 lakh tonnes.

    Officials said paddy arrival at the direct purchase centres (DPCs) of the corporation continued to be around 1,500 tonnes though the harvest was over in May. At the current rate, the corporation might get another 75,000 tonnes in the next two months. By then kuruvai procurement would begin and there would be heavy flow of paddy to the DPCs.

    The officials said the corporation had stocked 3.9 lakh tonnes of rice and 2.02 lakh tonnes paddy. It was sufficient to meet two months' PDS requirement. The Food Corporation also had two months' stock.