OTHERS

Kodagu gets 732 quintals of sugar for PDS

MADIKERI, OCT. 7. Kodagu has received 732 quintals of sugar for distribution among the 208 depots in September. Still, the quantity is 1,500 quintals short of the usual supply to the district in a month.

There are five agencies in Kodagu which are expected to lift sugar stock for supply through the Public Distribution System. The Agricultural Produce Marketing Cooperative Societies at Gonicoppa, Virajpet, Kushalnagar, Madikeri and the Karnataka Food and Civil Supplies Corporation are supposed to pay the amount for the stocks to be lifted to the Food Department in advance. The department, which has its own arrangement for transport, would provide the trucks to lift the stocks from the scheduled places.

Transport cost

The agencies which lifted sugar stock from places such as Pandavapura, Chunchankatte in Mandya district earlier, were made to secure stocks from Belgaum recently. Trucks bringing sugar from any place in Mandya district would have to bear Rs. 3,000 a trip, whereas from Belgaum it would cost up to Rs. 10,000 a trip, sources pointed out.

The decision to ask the agencies to lift sugar from the specified places would be decided by the Government of India, Narayana Reddy, Deputy Director of the Department of Food here, told The Hindu . The differential transport cost would be initially borne by the agencies lifting sugar and would be compensated by the Government later.

Differential cost

It was this particular issue that had come in the way of lifting sugar stock by the agencies to Kodagu. The department owed the agencies over Rs. 18 lakhs as differential cost since 1995 to 2003, sources in the department said. This is also called as Sugar Price Equivalent Fund (SPEF). The agencies were adamant that unless their arrears were paid, they would not lift sugar stocks. As a result, no sugar was sold in the 208 fair price depots in Kodagu over the past six months.

Sources in the Food Department said that since there was not much difference in the cost of the sugar sold in the open market and in the fair price depots, the issue did not garner attention in Kodagu. But, sugar sold in the PDS would be cheaper by Rs. 4.50 than in the open market sale. In spite of this, the BPL ration cardholders would not be able to get their quota of 3 kg a card during this month due to short supply.

Mr. Reddy said that he had assured the agencies that efforts would be made to make good the SPEF amounts due to them as early as possible.

Following this, the agencies had started lifting sugar stocks from Belgaum from September onwards.

Still, the limited stock would mean that each cardholder would get only 1 kg or less than that in the depots, considering the total number of BPL (yellow) cards given in the district, Mr. Reddy said.

There are 74,811 below the poverty line (BPL) yellow card holders, including 3,830 holders of Antyodaya cards, covering labourers.

There are 49,000 card holders who are above poverty line in Kodagu district.