The Delhi government is going all out to woo voters ahead of the assembly elections later this year.
The food and supplies department of the government, in yet another social welfare initiative, has decided to send SMS alerts to ration card holders, informing them when supplies reach the shops. The step came after the department was flooded with a number of complaints from ration card holders who said they were not getting food supply despite making several rounds of fair price shops.
To begin with, the department has started the process of collecting the phone numbers of the ration card holders and creating a database.
“The process of collecting the phone numbers has started and we hope to start sending SMS alerts within the next 15 days. This will ensure that people do not need make unnecessary rounds of a fair price shops just to enquire whether supply has reached them or not,” said SS Yadav, secretary-cum-commissioner, Delhi government. According to officials, there are 17 lakh card holders who collect ration at subsidised rates from 2,500 odd shops in the city. Interestingly, though the scheme was announced last year by the food and supplies minister, it could not be implemented.
Sources said this step is being taken as a number of MLAs had complained that the fair price shop owners, in connivance with the inspectors, were selling ration meant for card holders. “We have received a number of complaints that fair price shops do not open on time and on many occasions remain closed for days at an end. This caused a lot of trouble to beneficiaries of the Public Distribution System (PDS). Once the SMS alert is launched, they will have to ensure strict compliance,” said a senior official.
Recently, the supply chain management of PDS operations was computerised under which, an SMS alert goes to the MLA, inspector and the vigilance committee of an area once trucks carrying foodgrains, sugar, for example, leave the main godown. This information gave an opportunity to check whether the allocated quota of sugar for each constituency had reached the fair shop or not.