TAMIL NADU

Wheat, a rare commodity in fair price shops

Special Correspondent

SALEM: Wheat has become a rare commodity in the fair price shops of the State, particularly Salem. Not a single grain has been distributed to many cardholders.

The salesmen citing `inadequate stock' as the reason are turning the cardholders away. Agitated consumers staged demonstrations in front of many fair price shops in Salem city demanding that the district administration take steps to supply wheat immediately. Any number of visits to the shops in the last three months had yielded no result. "While a few received inadequate supply, hundreds of other cardholders like us were to return disappointed," said a housewife in Sooramangalam in Salem.

Not only in Sooramangalam, the shops in Thottana Chettikadu in Karunkalpatti near Salem also ran out of wheat stocks forcing the cardholders to lay siege to the shops. Senior police and revenue officials had to intervene and convince them.

Each cardholder is entitled to a minimum of 5 kg wheat every month. "But for the last three months we have not received a single grain," said a cardholder.

Accepting that the wheat distribution had been affected, an official in the Department of Cooperatives told The Hindu that the district had been allotted 265 tonnes of wheat for the month against the usual allotment of 1,100 tonnes.

"We have in fact shifted the entire available stock to the shops and distributed them equally. As the wheat has to be allotted from the Central Pool, the government has approached the Union Government to restore adequate supply to the State," the official added.

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