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Virudhunagar shows way to check rice smuggling

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V. Chandrasekaran
V. Chandrasekaran

Offtake has come down drastically in last four months: Collector

VIRUDHUNAGAR: The district administration has effectively checked “diversion” of ration rice to black market to a significant extent through a scientific analysis employed in ration shops that were reporting over 98 per cent off take.

Detailing the procedure, the Collector, V. Chandrasekaran, told reporters here on Thursday that the overall off take in the district had come down to 68 per cent from over 80 per cent in the last four months.

“Stop supply” orders

Officials went in for a cent per cent door-to-door verification of all ration cards under those shops reporting above 98 per cent of rice off take. “Stop supply” orders were issued to family cards of individuals who were not found in the addresses mentioned in the cards. “This is not cancellation of cards,” the Collector clarified.

“This fool-proof mechanism helped us to find out the cards that were missing, pledged and sold out (to others),” Mr. Chandrasekaran said.

The list of cards for which stop supply orders were issued was displayed at the ration shops. “If the card holders were genuine and regular visitors to the ration shop they will come to know about the stop order. The order will be revoked within 24 hours, if they are able to give a satisfactory reply (for their absence),” he said.

The officials were also able to find out that many people were not buying 20 kg rice every month in places where harvest had just concluded and plenty of rice stock was available at home. Following the findings of off take analysis, the supply of rice to ration shops was gradually reduced every month.

Sufficient stock

Stating that some salesmen, who could no more indulge in black marketing, were misleading the public claiming that sufficient stock was not available in the shop wherever there was demand, the Collector said, “We are ready to rush sufficient quantity of rice immediately.”

Supply to ration shops over and above the actual demand led to illegal diversion of rice to black market and generation of fake bills, he said. A meeting of rice mill owners would be convened to warn them of stringent action, if they were found handling ration rice illegally, Mr. Chandrasekaran said.

Zonal officers had been nominated to hold discussions with elected representatives, members of self-help grounds and retired Government servants to improve supply and quality of ration rice, he said.

Cancellation of cards

Stating that the Government was supplying rice at a lowest price of Rs.2 a kg with a view to satiating the hungry stomachs of the economically weak, he warned that family cards would be cancelled, if they were found to be illegally pledged or sold out.

The quantity of smuggled rice seized by officials had gradually gone up from 190 quintals in June to 798 quintals in September, the District Supply Officer, Rajaram, said.

The seizure during July and August this year was 384 and 402 quintals respectively.

A total of 22 cases had been registered since June.

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