Fair price shops, ordinarily associated with poor ambience, are getting a makeover in the State.
Apart from sprucing up of façade, the shops are bidding for the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) certification.
As on October 31, of the 2,950 shops chosen for the renovation project, 2,252 have been covered. Likewise, 3,662 shops received the ISO 9001:2015 certification and 930 shops got the ISO 28000-2007 certification as on November 1.
There are 33,445 shops in total in the State, of which 23,973 function full-time and the remaining function part-time. “We have just made a beginning and are aware that there is a long way to go,” said an official from the Cooperation Department.
As per the renovation plan, 75 shops each have been selected in 37 out of 39 civil supplies districts. Work has been completed in all of the 92 allotted shops in Erode. In case of Ramanathapuram, 55 of the identified 83 shops have experienced improvements. Among the districts with poor performance are Mayiladuthurai and Theni, where only eight and 12 shops have been covered.
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The ISO certification in public distribution system means that the shops have established mechanisms to prevent adulteration or safety hazards to food items they handle and supply. The shops, which have been following the quality standards required for the ISO certification, are being encouraged to ensure proper documentation as it would help in ensuring that standards are not only met on a one-time basis but can be verified from time to time, the official explained, and added that efforts were being made to gradually bring all the shops under the process.
Also, new shops are being built for the rented ones and those in dilapidated condition.
Emphasising that training and capacity building sessions were being held for the staff concerned, the official said that the focus was to ensure that employees adopt people-friendly attitude. Walls of the shops were being utilised for disseminating messages of public importance.