Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Food security depends on the efficiency of the Civil Supplies Department and the Public Distribution System (PDS) and it is the duty of officials to ensure their smooth functioning, E.V. Velu, Food Minister, said here on Sunday.

Speaking at the 25th anniversary of the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation Quality Control Staff Association (TNCSCQCSA), Mr. Velu said there had been a big change in the quality of the PDS over the years and schemes like Special PDS and rice at Re.1 a kg were benefiting people of the State during price rise in the outside market.

Claiming that rice smuggling was being controlled, he called upon quality control staff, who certified whether the rice was stolen or not, to respond immediately after lorries were seized to prevent rumours from spreading that the government was trying to shield the smugglers.

The association presented a list of demands to the Minister and also to Co-operation, Food and Consumer Protection Secretary K.Shanmugam and TNCSC Managing Director Satyabrata Sahoo.

Among the demands, the association sought parity between TNCSC staff and government employees. They also asked the government to increase the staff strength at various levels by appointing more loadmen, more field-level employees, and also by sanctioning Senior Managers (Quality Control) for Chennai (North), Cuddalore, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam, and a General Manager (Quality Control) at the Head Office. The officials assured the association that they would look into the demands.