With an aim to supply food commodities sans flaws under the Food Security Act 2013 and in a transparent manner, the UT administration has decided to implement the scheme only through fair price shops (FPS) having a good track record.
According to sources, UT administrator will select FPS only after scanning their records in already existing public distribution system (PDS). Those depot holders having blemished records will stand to lose their licences.
As per official record, at present there are 10,000 below poverty line (BPL) card-holders and 82,000 above poverty line (APL) card-holders registered with more than 60 FPS across the city.
In the past, several FPS have faced allegations of bungling and in the last three years around five depot holders have been booked by the local police on charges of cheating the beneficiaries.
The FPS have faced criticism for not complying with the laid down guidelines of PDS which were framed by the administration after much deliberation and in consultation with different agencies and notified on October 14, 2010.
The Consumer Federation of Ration Card Holders (CFRCH) has given several representations to the administrator, highlighting the irregularities committed by the depot holders.
President of CFRCH Rajinder Kumar Gupta maintained that majority of FPS are throwing norms to the wind. "For ensuring that food items reach cardholders, the authorities should ensure that the rules are followed in toto," said Gupta.
UT deputy commissioner Mohammed Shayin, who is also director of the food and supplies department, said that they have prepared a proper framework for ensuring smooth implementation of the bill. "We have taken certain steps to ensure that beneficiaries get the food items in a total transparent manner," said Shayin.
The authorities have also decided to increase the number of FPS in the city, but in a judicious manner. Sources, said that the allotting officer will be held responsible if the depot holder is found violating the norms.
The bill, which was approved by the Parliament last month, gives right to subsidised food grain to over 65% population of the country. Based on national sample survey office (NSSO) consumption expenditure survey data for 2011-12, the planning commission has estimated that 38.54% of the rural population of Chandigarh and 47.26% urban population will come under the Food Security Act.
For ensuring extensive coverage, the food and supplies department will undertake and exercise for identification of eligible households under the scheme. Awareness about the Act will be generated through videos and other means.