KERALA

New ration cards ready

Special Correspondent

VS to launch distribution



70 lakh new cards will be distributed

State to press for restoration of foodgrain quota



THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The distribution of new laminated ration cards will take place during December, January, February and March.

Food and Civil Supplies Minister C. Divakaran told the media here on Tuesday that 50 lakh cards for those living above the poverty line (APL) and 20 lakh for those living below the poverty line (BPL) were ready for distribution.

Of the BPL card holders, 5.96 lakh were covered under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana and 50,000 older persons under the Annapporna Scheme.

Launch

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan will inaugurate the distribution by giving Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy his ration card on Wednesday. Nearly 4,000 cards coming under 10 ration shops in Thiruvananthapuram would be distributed on the same day.

The Minister said that he would be going to Delhi this month to represent the State’s demand for restoration of the quota of grains for public distribution again. The current allotment was grossly insufficient.

He said that 1.73 lakh tonnes of grain was required to supply 35 kg of rice and wheat to the APL card holders every month.

However, the allotment had been cut down to 28,833 tonnes.

About 52,000 tonnes were required for supply to BPL card holders.

However, the allocation of rice was only half of that. The allotment of wheat was reduced to 7,336 tonnes a month.

Allocation of kerosene had been brought down by 7,749 metric tonnes since 2000-01. The Centre had maintained that kerosene could not be supplied for cooking or fishing.

Godowns full

He said that the Central government’s godowns were full following a bumper crop last season.

The FCI had written to the State government seeking warehousing space.

However, the Centre had not yet shown willingness to increase the quotas.

Bazaars

The Minister said that Supplyco was intervening in the market to prevent price rise during Bakrid and Christmas. Bazasrs were functioning at all district headquarters.

Besides, 1,300 other outlets were also in operation. Kuttanadan boiled rice was being supplied at Rs.16 a kg through ration shops.

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