Tamil Nadu

11.63% cardholders get cash on Day One

Policemen trying to ensure physical distancing at a PDS outlet in Chennai’s Ayanavaram on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: B_JOTHI RAMALINGAM

Amid reports of violation of “personal distancing” norms in certain places of the State and the alleged involvement by members of the ruling AIADMK, the distribution of ₹1,000 cash and free rice, pulses, edible oil and sugar to ration cardholders began on Thursday.

The assistance was being given to ration cardholders to mitigate the adverse impact of COVID-19.

As public distribution system (PDS) shops opened in the morning, many places in Chennai had long queues with tokens not being distributed in the preceding days. A scene of the AIADMK members passing on tokens to ration cardholders in Virugambakkam did the rounds on social media. BJP’s State unit treasure S.R. Sekar wrote to Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami to prevent ruling party men from distributing tokens.

Elsewhere in the State, particularly in Dindigul, reports of crowding came from Ram Nagar, TVA Nagar and in Oddanchatram PDS outlets. In Begumpur of Dindigul town, the Health and Family Welfare Department officials had declared the area as “containment zone”.

Despite the ration shop, near Naddarsha Street, getting situated in the containment zone, the PDS beneficiaries of the shop lined up in front of the shop to collect relief material. The officials distributed the provisions and cash rapidly and closed the shop for the day by noon.

Acknowledging that there were “a few instances” of violation of the norms in Chennai, a senior official of the Civil Supplies Department said they got “corrected immediately.”

Another official explained that due to “logistical issues,” the tokens could not be issued in advance. One more official was of the view that the practice of ration cardholders not residing at the stated addresses was “quite rampant” in southern parts of the city. This was why the issue of tokens was not carried out.

However, for ration cardholders in north Chennai, they were informed that tokens would be issued in advance for getting provisions and cash.

Asked about the alleged participation of his party members in the issue of tokens, Food Minister R. Kamaraj told The Hindu that the Chief Minister had made it clear that only employees of the rations shops should do this job and not others. “We will ensure that the distribution is done in a proper way,” he said.

Later, he told journalists that while it was targeted to distribute the aid to 10% of the ration card holders on a day, about 11.63% card holders were covered on Thursday. In 10 days all beneficiaries would be covered.

Notwithstanding these instances, the distribution in most parts of the State went off smoothly. Be it in Coimbatore or Tiruchi or Tiruvarur or Cuddalore or in the southern belt, the norms of personal distancing were followed by and large.

In Theni, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam commenced the distribution at the new bus stand in the presence of MP O.P. Raveendranath Kumar. Likewise, in other districts, local Ministers took part in the inauguration.

“We are in the process of collecting information from all the districts,” a senior official of the department explained.

Thanks to the “initiative” of Collector K.S. Kandasamy in Tiruvannamalai district, the delivery of the commodities and cash at the doorstep of PDS beneficiaries was carried out during the day. This had become possible as the government had authorised Collectors to make necessary arrangements in their respective areas, depending upon the availability of manpower and other resources, the Civil Supplies department’s official said and added that at least three officials were required for each vehicle, carrying the commodities and cash.

The door delivery had been arranged for those under home quarantine. With the help of officials of Health and Local Administration Departments, the distribution at the door step of such beneficiaries is being carried out, the Civil Supplies Department’s official said. Besides, for all the people in four municipalities and one town panchayat of Theni district, where 20 positive cases of COVID-19 had been reported, were being covered through the door delivery.

Some arrangements had been made to lessen inconvenience of people. At a few ration shops at Kovilpatti and Thirugokarnam in Pudukottai town, chairs, with necessary spacing, were placed.

(With inputs from B. Kolappan in Chennai, M. Soundariya Preetha in Coimbatore, S.P, Saravanan in Erode, V. Venkatasubramanian in Thanjavur and Kathelene Antony and R.Rajaram in Tiruchi and Madurai Bureau)


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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 5:32:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/1163-cardholders-get-cash-on-day-one/article31242034.ece

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