PDS shops eye FSSAI licence in Tamil Nadu, to supply toor dal in packets
The move will not only reduce the work burden of PDS employees but also reduce consumers' waiting time and each ration cardholder is eligible for 1 kg of toor dal per month.
CHENNAI: Distribution of loose toor dal at PDS shops will soon be a thing of the past, with the State government deciding to supply the product in packets.
Official sources from the department of cooperation and Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation (TNCSC), which procures commodities for ration shops, said work is under way to supply toor dal in packets as per the specifications prescribed by the food safety department.
At present, loose toor dal is distributed to cardholders after being weighed on electronic weighing scales. "There were no major complaints against PDS staff regarding weighing, yet, to enhance the quality of services, it has been decided to sell products in packets. Toor dal, which has huge patronage among cardholders, has been identified to be sold in packets first, and modalities are being worked out to implement the same," said an official from the cooperation department.
The move will not only reduce the work burden of PDS employees but also reduce consumers' waiting time. Each ration cardholder is eligible for 1 kg of toor dal per month. About 2,000 tons of toor dal are procured per month at Rs 95-96 per kg and sold to 2 crore ration cardholders for Rs 30 per kg. The market rate of toor dal is Rs 118-155 a kg.
Ration shops supply two varieties of rice, sugar, wheat, edible oil, toor dal, and kerosene. The edible oil (palmolein oil) sold in packets now in PDS shops was supplied in loose until late 2000. The distribution of commodities in packets is also essential for ration shops to obtain food safety licences.
The State has 35,323 fair-price shops, including 10,279 part-time shops, of which the majority are yet to obtain licences from the food safety department. "More than 10 lakh ration cards were issued in the last 13 months, and fair-price shops have got a huge patronage. All efforts are being taken to obtain the FSSAI licence for all ration shops," added the official.
S Dhayanandhan, State deputy general secretary, Tamil Nadu Consumer Protection Centre, based in Madurai, said packing alone will not improve delivery of products. The government should start packing rice and wheat with QR code authentication for distribution, he added, and said that outside Chennai, the quality of commodities and services at ration shops in Tamil Nadu remains poor.