NEW DELHI: Financial woes faced by the Delhi government could soon trickle through and cause a crisis in the food distribution system as ration shop owners have decided to stop distributing food grains over non-payment of margins from next month.
After failing to garner the administrators’ attention regarding their demands, one of the biggest union of Fair Price Shop (FPS) owners in the national capital, the ‘Delhi Government Ration Dealers Union’ took the unanimous decision.
FPS owners are alleging that the AAP-lead government has not provided a margin amount to traders in the system which has been their only source of income since April.
“We, FPS holders are paying our shop rent, salaries to staffers, all from our own pockets, all while working seven days a week. We are compelled by the department to work without margin because of which FPS holders and their families are now at the stage of starvation. Despite several letters and meetings over the past eight months, nothing has fructified. We have no option left but to stop food grain distribution from next month,” said Shiv Garg, president of the union.
“During peak lockdown the food distribution system added lakhs of people so we had to hire more staff to cater to the demand and in some cases rent out extra space in godowns to stock the food. Now as things are normalizing we have to pay back but if the margin is stopped for such long periods, which is the only source of money for us, then we have no option left,” he added.
There are 2,016 FPS in Delhi, to which cumulatively the government owes Rs 150 crore as margins since April this year.
However, the government is confident of getting through to owners in the days to come.
“We understand the problem faced by FPS owners regarding payment of margins. In the coming days we hope the issue will be resolved,” informed a senior official from the Food and Supplies Department of the Delhi government.