Why don’t you hand over PDS gadgets, if not shopping for them?

Coimbatore: In an attempt to curb syphoning of essential commodities at fair price shops, the Tamil Nadu Public Distribution System (TNPDS) has urged smart card holders to opt for ‘give it up’ option, if they are not purchasing the ration items.
“The card holders could use the option either to block their card temporarily for a period of time or permanently,” said a senior PDS official, adding, “If a card holder is sure that s/he is not going to purchase commodities for a period of time, they could use the option.”

This, he said, would not only help keep in check illegal procuring/smuggling of ration items, but also help save a large quantity of essential commodities.

Until about a year ago, when the ration card and manual process were in practise, the officials used to block the card if it was not used to purchase commodities for three months in a row. After the introduction of smart card, this practice was withdrawn.

“Instead of officials blocking the cards, card holders should come forward to give up ration items, if they are not purchasing them. While the government won’t allot commodities for these card holders, they can continue to use them as identity cards” the official said.

While about 126 people, including rice and sugar card holders, had opted for the ‘give it up option’ in the past three months, as many as 4,739 families have chosen to have no commodity cards, according to an official source.

In Coimbatore, they are about 9,97,443 card holders. Of them, 8,45,951 are rice card holders and 75,101 are sugar card holders, who, according to sources, could opt for the ‘give it up’ option.

The move would also help the deserving get the essential commodities, said G Rajendren of Tamil Nadu Ration Shop Employees Association. “Presently, the government does not allot commodities to all the registered shops in an area and the ration items are sold on first come, first serve basis. Hence, some card holders don’t t get the commodities. Once people opt for ‘give it up’ option, things will change,” he said.

Rajendren has, however, some reservations. “Even though the move could curtail illegal procuring to an extent, unless the government brings in more stringent rules, malpractices will continue,” he said.

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