Protesters want woes of public distribution system to be solved

They claim fair price shops are cheating beneficiaries

Led by the Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist), poor people from different colonies took out a procession to the district administrative complex here on Saturday demanding that the authorities address problems in the public distribution system (PDS).

The protesters, mostly below poverty line (BPL) cardholders, alleged that fair price shops were cheating the beneficiaries by giving only 4 kg of rice per head instead of the 7 kg that they were entitled to.

They demanded that the Deputy Director of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs take stringent actions against the owners of such shops.

“Moreover, wheat, edible oil, sugar, kerosene, and other household needs that were being supplied to BPL cardholders have been abruptly stopped. We don’t know whether the government stopped the supply or the fair price shop owners stopped it. We want the government to restart the distribution so that the poor can survive,” a protester said.

Sneha Kattimani, a student leader who participated in the agitation, said that the government decision to provide thumb impression for getting ration at the fair price shops is depriving many people of their right to have free ration under PDS.

“The government has made it mandatory to obtain the thumb impression of the beneficiary before providing ration. It might be a good move to plug the leakages in PDS. However, it is also creating problems as many working class people have got their palm and thumb lines erased due to their hard work. Many women working as housemaids too have lost their thumb lines. As a result, the thumb impression reader doesn’t recognise the beneficiary and the fair price shop owner denies the ration. The government should come up with an alternative method of identifying the beneficiaries in such cases, like identifying them by their photos,” she said.

She also alleged that some of the shops force the beneficiaries to buy other household needs such as soaps and detergents for obtaining the ration free of cost under PDS.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 4:25:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/protesters-want-woes-of-public-distribution-system-to-be-solved/article29311027.ece

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