Subsidised rice not to be available in Onam markets
Thiruvananthapuram: Subsidised rice under Public Distribution System (PDS) will not be available in the Onam markets in the state this year. The agencies which took up the tender has informed Consumerfed that they cannot supply rice at subsidised rate. Three agencies had taken up the tender to distribute 68,684 quintals of Andhra Jaya rice.
Consumerfed chairman M. Mehboob has sent a letter to the chief minister requesting government intervention in the issue. It is also mentioned in the letter that the agencies are trying to increase the price and are on a move to purchase rice for a higher price.
The government has decided to start 3500 Onam markets with the cooperation of cooperative societies. A total of 13 items including rice at subsidised rates will be provided per ration card. Also the government has given in advance a share of the subsidy amount to the Consumerfed.
All the three agencies that took up the tender for rice supply are from Kerala and used to provide goods to Consumerfed earlier. So, their move to withdraw from the supply raises suspicion. In case of any lapses from the part of agencies, compensation can be charged from them.
Onam markets start from September 1. Inviting tender for new agencies is not practical within this short period. If the agencies withdrew from the contract, Consumerfed will have to purchase rice for higher price leading to huge loss.
Earlier, huge lapses were found in the purchase of rice from Andhra. Two loads of rice had gone missing. Following this, those who were in charge of purchase were temporarily removed from the duties. The same persons are on duty at present.