Staff Reporter

KRISHNAGIRI: A plan is on the anvil to set up separate police teams to prevent smuggling of rice meant for the Public Distribution System in border districts.

This is necessary as the police are over-burdened with law and order problems, Food Minister A.V. Velu said, after reviewing the functioning of the Public Distribution System in Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri and Salem districts on Wednesday. Each team would have a Sub-Inspector and commandoes and function under the supervision of the Collector. The teams would be deployed in Krishnagiri, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari and Tiruvallur.

Mr. Velu directed officials to verify applications for ration cards and issue cards within 60 days. About 9,984 new cards had so far been issued in Krishnagiri and 14,229 and 27,823 cards in Dharmapuri and Salem respectively. Officials seized 300 tonnes of rice in Salem from January 1 to September 30 this year. Thirty-six vehicles used for smuggling ration rice were impounded. About 760 tonnes and 79 tonnes were seized in Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri, he said.

Mr. Velu said the Government had opened 91 part-time ration shops in Dharmapuri. Such shops would be opened in habitations with 150 families if the existing shop was more than a kilometre and half away. About seven part-time shops had been opened in Krishnagiri.He asked the officials to ensure all part-time shops opened uniformly at the designated time.