Border patrolling to be restored; reward for informers to double
The government will restore patrolling in border districts such as Tirunelveli, Krishnagiri, Coimbatore, Kanyakumari and Vellore to prevent the smuggling of essential commodities to other States, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Budhichandhiran told the Assembly on Monday.
Replying to a debate on demands for grants for his department, the Minister said the withdrawal of patrolling in March 2010 by the DMK government had led to spurt in smuggling activities.
The AIADMK government tightened vigilance and, between May 15 and August 18, 4,286 cases were filed and 2321 persons arrested in connection with the smuggling of food and other ration items. A total of 217 vehicles were seized and 90 persons booked under the Goondas Act.
The Minister said that the government had recovered 9469 quintal of rice, worth over Rs.1 crore, from smugglers.
Similarly, officials had seized 45,045 litres of kerosene and 1600 gas cylinders meant for public distribution from smugglers.
Mr. Budhichandhiran said the government had decided to increase from Rs.500 to Rs.1000 the reward for those who provided tip-off about hoarding and smuggling of essential commodities. Those who gave information about fake ration cards would get Rs.250 instead of Rs.200.
With a view to creating awareness among consumers about their rights, the government would release news clippings through the FM stations of All India Radio.
The Minister said that the Chief Minister had approved a proposal to construct 65 godowns with a capacity of 85,000 tonnes at a cost of Rs.50 crore. NABARD would give Rs.47.50 crore while the State government's contribution would be Rs.2.50 crore.
The government had also decided to construct 10 buildings for direct rice procurement centres at a cost of Rs.1.70 crore in Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam.