VISAKHAPATNAM: Chaos reigned on the first day of implementation of the e-Pass (Electronic Payment and Application System) electronic machines in ration shops as many machines malfunctioned, leaving dealers and members of waiting for hours here Wednesday. Many irked dealers staged a dharna alleging that they have been supplied with low quality products. The e-Pass machines have been distributed to 412 ration depots.
A number of dealers gathered near the ASO Office in the city and held a protest. Ration Dealers union secretary M Prasad said that the implementation of e-pass enforces strict authentication. However, he alleged that the mere one-hour awareness programme on the operations was insufficient, resulting in dealers unable to deal with the machines.
“Even though we don’t have much knowledge on these systems, we have started to work on them. But they have been malfunctioning, resulting in the public coming over for rations being forced to stand for hours,” he alleged.
Other ration dealers too protested that the allotted e-Pass systems have not been functioning properly, leading to chaos in depots. Dealers demanded the supply of machines in good condition. Reacting to the issue, District Supplies officer, Visakhapatnam, K Ravi Teja Nayak said, “It’s not fair for the dealers to protest on the machines right from day one. More awareness would be created on how to operate them. We have decided to take up full fledged inquiry into the allegations of malfunctions. In case the machines have malfunctioned, we will replace them immediately.”