HYDERABAD: Public Distribution System dealers (ration shops) in Hyderabad are insisting on card-holders to buy at least three commodities like oil, pulses and sugar that are not part of the essentials supplied by the civil supplies department. Shockingly, they are selling these items at prices higher than the MRP.
Besides, the recently-introduced Ration from Anywhere (portability) Scheme has come as a godsend. With the footfalls increasing in number steeply, the dealers are having unexpected windfall. They are resorting to the malpractice to earn more on non-subsidised goods to cover the alleged losses they are incurring on account of inadequate or unpaid commission payable by the government.
According to the civil supplies department, every month 13,10,278 quintals of rice, 2,93,800 quintals of wheat, and kerosene are supplied to the dealers in Hyderabad district. The total number of Food Security Card holders is 5,56,675 and the number of Fair Price Shops is 755.
A year ago the government had stopped distributing sugar, oil, pulses and some other commodities under PDS. It buys rice from millers at `27 a kg and distributes it to consumers at just one rupee, subsidising it heavily. To make up for the loss of commission on rice, dealers are forcing consumers to buy salt, oil, sugar, salt and pulses that are not supplied by the civil supplies department.
“If we refuse to take the open-market commodities, the dealer will feign that the e-PoS machine is not working due to signal problems and just to turn us away,” said Manjula, a beneficiary.
Dealers have been demanding that the commission on 1 kg of rice be increased from 20 paise to 70 paise but the state government has not acceded to their demand. “With the state not having paid the commission to us for two years, how can we afford shop rent and other expenses? The government is implementing new rules and regulations concerning fair price shops but when it comes to dealer’s commission, there is no discussion,” said a dealer.