Nothing rational about ration shops

Hyderabad, April 30: Fair price shops are supposed to be a place where citizens can get rations easily at an affordable rate.

However, the situation is quite the different going by the chief rationing office records.

176 fair price shops in the Hyderabad district have been closed for the last four years, as they were either sealed or their licences revoked.

In December last year, the Vigilance and Enforcement wing found that 15 FPS dealers were appropriating PDS commodities every month and officials had failed to check their illegal practices.

District supply officer, P Vijay Kumar Reddy admitted it was like a cycle where some shops get closed on one hand while others are opened by re-issue of licences.

He said the Civil Supplies department would release a notification soon for renewal of licences.

Deputy tahasildar P Nityanada said, “In the city, there are 975 ration shops but only 799 are working presently. 17 are under suspension and 138 sealed due to cancellation of licences or expiry of dealership. A few shops closed down due to death of shop owners while others withdrew their ownership.”

Reportedly, circle officers supposed to check transport of items from stock point to fair price shops, have not been checking properly. This has led to some dealers to divert ration items to private shops.

The vigilance wing asked the principal secretary, civil supplies and consumer affairs to instruct chief rationing officers to inspect all ration shops where irregularities were found.

“We conducted a survey on functioning of fair price shops and sent a report to the government but no action has been taken so far,” said an official of the wing.

In 2005, the wing also found 21 fair price shops being run by unauthorised persons.

Dealers had entrusted the shops to others for a fixed sum every month. Other irregularities like dealers collecting higher prices than government fixed rates and not maintaining registers were also found.