Even as the state government plans to increase the number of fair price vegetable shops to 106, consumers at these outlets have demanded some operational changes.
One of the major complaints from across the 52 centres currently open is that the stock finishes before 7 pm, while their official timings are from 4pm to 8pm.
“The vegetable stock should be increased and the timing extended. Presently, the vegetables are sold out by 7 pm, so working people cannot avail of this scheme. The shops should be open till 9pm,” said Renka Talreja, 31, an Andheri resident.
Another demand is to allow the purchase of smaller quantities of vegetables such as 200g or 250g.
“They ask us to buy a minimum of half a kilo, which is double my requirement. So I avoid buying vegetables there. Considering there are so many nuclear families in the metros, the government centres should allow small quantity purchases as well,”
said Smita Narkar, 42, a Bhoiwada resident.
Other demands include improving the billing system so that consumers are not forced to wait in long queues.
Currently, each person takes at least 10 minutes because of the three stages involved in the purchase.
First, consumers have to make an entry of the vegetable and its quantity, then pick up the goods and finally make the payment.
“If this is reduced to two stages, the time consumed will be less. The person who makes the entry should be allowed to collect the payment,” said Maya Dake, 46, a Lalbaug resident.
An official from the agriculture department, requesting anonymity, said, “Currently each centre receives 600kg to 700 kg of vegetables. We are likely to increase it Simultaneously, we are in discussions with cooperatives to extend the timing from 8pm to 9.30pm.”