Fair price shops in Hassan charging more than the fixed price for rice and distributing less than the fixed quantity has become quite common. While in many shops, the quantity provided for families with three or more than three members had been reduced, in several other shops, an extra 25 to 50 paise was being collected per kg of rice.
This correspondent visited a fair price shop at Salagame, around 9 km from Hassan city on Wednesday.
The beneficiaries were provided only 29 kg of rice, instead of 30 kg.
The shopkeeper collected Rs. 135 from a beneficiary who was entitled to 30 kg of rice, 1 kg of sugar and 5 litres of kerosene.
Hue and cry
“I gave Rs. 200 and he returned Rs. 60 in cash and a cake of soap worth Rs. 5. The shopkeeper does not give receipts. If we insist on a receipt, he will make a hue and cry about it,” said Mallikarjun, a BPL card holder.
The Food and Civil Supplies Department has fixed the prices at Re. 1 for a kg of rice, Rs. 13.5 for a kg of sugar and Rs. 16.2 for a litre of kerosene.Going by these figures, this beneficiary had to pay only Rs. 124.5.
But, the shopkeeper collected Rs. 135, while cutting the quantity of rice by 1 kg.
This was the experience of all the beneficiaries who got foodgrains from this shop.
However, the entries in their cards showed that they were provided 30 kg of rice.
This situation is quite common. Jayamma, a resident of Dasarakoplu on the outskirts of Hassan city, said that she had to pay Rs. 1.5 per kg of rice. Nandakumar, a resident of Vidya Nagar in Hassan city, also had a similar experience. This is despite repeated directions and warnings from senior officials of the department.
Though the beneficiaries are upset with the discrepancies in quantity of rice distributed, they are, by and large, happy with the quality of rice.
Sannamma, a resident of Salagame village, said: “We have been using this rice regularly. The quality is good. The stock supplied to this shop last month was even better.”
However, the beneficiaries do not agree with the government’s claim that beneficiaries have been able to save nearly Rs. 800 with the launch of the Anna Bhagya scheme.
‘I don’t save much’
Nagarajappa of Tavaradevarakoplu village was paying Rs. 36 and getting 12 kg of rice (three units) at Rs. 3 per kg under the old system. His family of six required around 40 to 45 kg of rice a month.
He was spending additionally Rs. 600 to Rs. 700 per month to meet the requirement.
“With the increase in the quantity provided, I purchase around 10 to 15 kg extra per month by spending Rs. 250 to Rs. 300 per month. At the end of the day, I am saving only Rs. 350 to Rs. 400,” he said.
Moreover, he was getting wheat at the fair price shop earlier, but now he had to buy it outside.
Considering all this, the amount saved was minimal, he said.
Mr. Nagarajappa added that he was disappointed by comments made in the media opposing the Anna Bhagya scheme.
The Hassan district has 3,87,281 BPL families, including 23,795 families under the Antyodaya scheme.
Authorities have ‘no complaints’
V. Anbukkumar, Deputy Commissioner, said that the stock allotted to the district was sufficient.
“So far, we have not received even a single complaint by any cardholder being denied his quota of foodgrains under the Anna Bhagya scheme. We have taken all necessary measures to implement the scheme effectively,” he said.