PDS kerosene in short supply in STR villages

Residents of Ramar Anai say they have to travel 12 km to the PDS shop to buy kerosene.
Cardholders waiting to have their biometric credentials verified at a PDS shop. Image used for representation.
Cardholders waiting to have their biometric credentials verified at a PDS shop. Image used for representation. (Photo | Express)

ERODE: People living in hill villages in Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve (STR) complain that just one litre of kerosene is being supplied from PDS shops against the stipulated three litres.

Residents of Ramar Anai say they have to travel 12 km to the PDS shop to buy kerosene. K Raman, village representative of Ramar Anai said, “Our village is very small and 25 families live here. The village does not have electricity and we are using solar panels. Though all houses in the village have cooking gas, kerosene is essential because solar lamps function only if there is enough sunlight. During monsoon, kerosene is essential for lighting lamps.”

He added, “Earlier, we used to get three litres of kerosene from PDS shops. We travel 12 km in TNSTC buses that are available during certain times to reach the PDS shop in Bejjalatti village. Now one litre of kerosene is provided to each card holder which is not enough. Officials should take steps and provide at least three litres of kerosene.”

In a letter to the state government, P L Sundaram, former MLA of Bhavanisagar, stated, “There are 13 village panchayats in Sathyamangalam hills and there are 200 hamlets in these panchayats. The majority of the people use wood and kerosene for cooking. Kerosene is also required for lamps as there are occasional power cuts in many places in the hills. As the price of kerosene in open markets is very high, people depend on PDS shops and they are supplying it in a very small quantity.”

He further said, “We are aware that the union government has cut down kerosene allocation to Tamil Nadu. Officials should allocate an additional percentage for hilly villages from the allocation to urban areas.”

A PDS official said, “Currently, a litre of kerosene is available for Rs 20. As the allocation for Tamil Nadu has decreased, they have completely stopped distributing kerosene to family cardholders having cooking gas. Others are given three litres each in urban and rural areas.”

A civil supplies department official in Erode said, “There is a shortage of kerosene across the state. However, we are doing additional allocation as much as possible to overcome the shortage in hill villages.”

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