N. Anand

CHENNAI: Cooperative societies have decided to modernise more than 25,000 fair price shops in the State at a cost of Rs.65 crore over the next two years to improve non-PDS commodities business and provide better ambience to customers.

“Through the public distribution system (PDS), the societies sell 11 essential commodities, groceries, cosmetics, vegetables and mobile top-up cards. Revenue from non-PDS items range from Rs.15,000 to over Rs.1 lakh per shop. It has been decided to achieve Rs.1 lakh per shop to minimise the losses,” Jatindra Nath Swain, Registrar, Co-operative Societies, told TheHindu on Thursday.

The societies have already modernised around 2,000 shops, including 12 in Chennai, and it has been decided to split the modernisation programme into two parts to lessen the financial burden. The first will cover over 12,000 fair price shops. An amount of Rs.25,000 has been set aside for each shop.

“Since we are dealing in essential commodities, we would like to keep the place clean. The fresh look and clean atmosphere will enable more people to visit our shop. It will also help us to keep track of the inventory,” an official said.

Besides, the cooperative societies will bifurcate fair price shops having more than 2,000 family cards. The bifurcation process was delayed due to non-availability of land or premises.

Chennai South has 541 fair price shops, of which 148 have more than 2,000 cards. Though permission has been sought for bifurcation of 119 shops, orders have been issued for 89 shops. Seventy seven shops were opened recently and the rest will be opened next month.

The site for 29 shops will be identified soon.

Around 90 Fair Price Shops in North Chennai have been earmarked for bifurcation. The process has been completed on 68 of them and the rest will be bifurcated within 20 days.