KOZHIKODE: In a setback to the state Food and Civil Supplies Department, which plans to implement the National Food Security Act in Kerala from October 2, a section of ration dealers have decided to launch a non-cooperation agitation.
According to the ration dealers, they would not cooperate with the proceedings of the renewal of ration cards by the government as Food and Civil Supplies Minister Anoop Jacob allegedly failed to keep his promises given to them.
The Department is all set to implement the project by including the present list of ration card holders in BPL and Antyodaya Anna Yojana category. Besides, an additional list of BPL card holders prepared by the state government in 2011 will also be included.
However, the ration dealers’ stance may adversely affect the move, according to the sources with Civil Supplies Department.
All Kerala Retail Ration Dealer’s Association general secretary T Mohammedali said that the assurance given by the Minister on hiking the commission of the ration dealers and executing the facility of door delivery still remain on paper.
“Minister Anoop Jacob had promised this on February this year. But after six months, there is no move to fulfil this. Hence, the general body meeting of the organisation has decided to keep away from the government initiative,” he said. According to the dealers, they have been receiving a commission of `58 per month for ration goods like wheat and rice. For kerosene, it is `38 for 200 litres and in the case of sugar it is only `15 per month.
“As per the records, a ration shop which has about 500 cards would get an income of `7,062 per month. However, the government itself admits that ration dealers would incur a loss of `9,631 per month while carrying out the business and could not survive with this income. Adding the woes, we have denied the commission for six months,” added Mohammedali.
It was on February 17 that Minister Anoop Jacob agreed to hike the commission to `2,00 from the existing `58. He also agreed to execute the door delivery system to avert the plight of the dealers to transport the goods to the shops. Mohammedali pointed out that the ration shop owners have to suffer an expense of `240 for transporting one quintal of ration goods to the shop. “With the implementation of door delivery facility, we can save the huge amountspending for the transportation.
Butstill, there is no move from the side of the government. We had met the Minister on July 30 and presented the issue. However, there has been no action so far,” Mohammedali said.
Johny Nelloor Ex-MLA, chairman of Kerala Congress (Jacob) which handles the Food and Civil Supplies portfolio, is the president of the All Kerala Retail Ration Dealer’s Association.
“For the last 30 years, he is a leader of the association. He was the president of Ernakulam district committee for around 20 years and replaced former Union Minister K V Thomas as the state president later,” clarified Mohammedali. However, when contacted,the Civil Supplies authorities have not responded to the issue.