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25 May 2019, Edition - 1411, Saturday

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Coimbatore

SMS for items not bought from ration shops; complaint cell in place

A T Jahar

SMS acknowledgements for purchase of rice, sugar or other essential items from ration shops is quite common. But what is surprising and intriguing is that some of the cardholders get SMS for items they have not made at all.

And in the wake of such complaints flowing in, the department has a complaint cell with a toll free number 107. The complaint will be registered and inquiry will be done by department, said Taluk Supply Officer Coimbatore Ganesh.

Coimbatore resident K. Mahalingam told The Covai Post: “I received and SMS from the ration shop stating that I purchased 20 kg rice, 1 kg wheat and 2 kg sugar. But what I did purchase was only 2 kg sugar. I was told by the shopkeeper that both rice and wheat were out of stock that day. But surprisingly, the SMS says I bought these `unavailable’ items”

Social activist A Arokiyasamy alleged that some of these items go into the open market outside as the margins are high. “At most of the ration shops we find boards stating that some of the items are out of stock. Further, in case it is available, the card holder may get just 1 kg sugar when 2 kg is due. And the quota ends there with 1 kg due finding its way to the open market. Despite officials inspections, such things continue,” he added.

Another resident JB Karthick said, “The SMS scheme and smart card for PDS card holders are good initiatives. But authorities should ensure that there is fair distribution.”

Most of the PDS card holders are below the poverty line and do not know where to complain. The civil supplies and consumer protection departments should create awareness about this, he added.

“If a ration shop staff is found to commit a fraud, a penalty is imposed. It there is a repeat of that, he or she is suspended and after enquiry dismissed. Cardholders are requested to provide the correct mobile number and also register complaints or use the toll-free facility,” the supply officer said.

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