The Food and Civil Supplies Department restored normal working hours for ration supply across the State on Thursday.
A section of ration dealers claimed that the technical snag that had necessitated specific time slots for districts last week persisted. Ration card holders were forced to wait for long hours outside the outlets with the dealers claiming that their e-PoS (electronic Point of Sale) machines were unresponsive. Ration dealers claimed the machines were offline despite restarting them repeatedly. As a result, many beneficiaries who found it difficult to collect their monthly allocation during the specified period last week had to return empty-handed on Thursday too, the dealers said.
Notwithstanding such occurrences, ration supply exceeded all expectations as 7,26,724 ration card holders received their allotted commodities (as on 7 p.m.) on the day. Food and Civil Supplies Minister G.R. Anil said this was a record-of-sorts in recent times, considering the average daily supply ranged from 3.5 lakh to 4 lakh beneficiaries. He pointed out that the government had decided to revert to the normal working hours of Public Distribution System (PDS) outlets after the server capacity and other technicalities were ascertained by the National Informatics Centre and the State IT Mission.
Mr. Anil accused a section of ration dealers who had opposed the introduction of e-PoS machines of engaging in the misinformation campaign and creating panic among the public. He added such dealers had focused on magnifying difficulties caused by network connectivity issues.
Department sources said squads would soon be deployed to ensure that ration dealers had been using SIM cards that provided decent Internet connection. Certain sections had for long violated the guidelines issued by the department in this regard. This had often affected the ration supply system, they claimed.