For the past eight months, the Chandigarh administration has been able to fix commission of fair price shops (FPS) for selling essential commodities.
Now the Khadya Suraksha Adhikar Manch (KSAM) has taken up the issue with UT department of food and supplies and consumer affairs secretary BS Bhalla for fixing profit margin for FPS for selling essential commodities under the public distribution system (PDS) and door-step delivery of essential commodities.
The KSAM observed that due to negligible margin, FPS owners are indulging in misappropriation/diversion and black marketing of essential commodities.
In July 2014, the Chandigarh Fair Price Shops Welfare Association had gone on strike but called off after getting assurance from the administration that they would get the viable commission soon.
Rajinder Gupta, president, KSAM, maintained, "Every FPS owner incurs expenses of over `10,000 a month on account of rent; electricity and water charges of FPS; stationery for maintaining sales, stock and registration registers; conveyance expenses for visiting DFSO office, bank and PR Centre for obtaining permits; depositing cost of foodgrains in bank; getting supplies for PR Centre; and salary of helper/assistant."
Gupta also alleged that owners were diverting huge quantity of essential commodities in the black market in connivance of area inspectors of food and supplies, assistant food and supplies officer, district food and supplies officer of the department and labour contractors.
"As a result, about 30 to 35% ration card holders do not get their monthly quota of essential commodities,"he added.