Staff Reporter

DINDIGUL: Residents of Vanniya Paraipatti laid a siege to a part-time ration shop at their village here on Friday, protesting sale of expired packed products and condemning the attitude of salesman who reportedly pressurised card holders to buy them.

The salesman Ramesh closed the shop and left.

The villagers complained that the salesman compelled the card holders to purchase chilli powder pockets manufactured in November 2008 with usage period of six months. Cost of the pack was Rs.16.

If card holders refused to buy the expired chilli powder, the salesman flatly refused to sell rice, sugar and kerosene.

Rice and other PDS goods were given only to those who bought the expired product.

In a fit of anger, many threw the expired powder pockets on the street.

“Why should we pay the hard earned money to buy expired goods,” questioned P. Chinnaraju.

Moreover, last supply was made to several beneficiaries in March only. Card holder Karuppayee bought rice in March. She did not get after that.

“If anybody questioned his behaviour, the salesman immediately stopped supply and ordered card holders to come to the main ration shop at Periyakottai, three km away from the village.

All card holders were forced to buy rice on a single day. If we failed to buy on the particular day, supply was not made during that month, the villagers said.

Our struggle to bring a ration shop to this village was immeasurable.

The government had agreed to open a shop only when the local people provided a building for it. We had constructed a building with our own contributions to set up this shop, they said.

Earlier, the salesman had collected Rs.5 from each card holders to pay electricity charges and wages to his assistant.

Card holders did not protest. After stiff protest, he stopped demanding Rs.5 from card holders two months ago.

When we lodged these complaints to the panchayat president, he paid scant respect to them.

The part time ration shop that has 270 ration cards is under control of Primary Agricultural Cooperative Bank, Rakjakkapatti.