For timely and transparent delivery of public distribution system (PDS) food grains, the responsibilities have been divided.
Under the new version of the atta-dal scheme Pungrain (Punjab Grains Procurement Corporation Limited) will distribute atta (wheat) and Punjab State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited (PUNSUP) will distribute dal (pulses). For several years, only PUNSUP was the instrumental agency to deliver these ration items to depot holders from its headquarters.
Sources in the food and supply department said that after the depot holders' calling for a strike this month, the state government had decided that food inspectors would take the items to the consumers' doorsteps. They said PUNSUP already was short of food inspectors, and in district such as Jalandhar, which has more than 900 villages, it has only seven of these officials.
Too much a burden for one agency
They had further said that it was difficult for a single procurement agency to bear the burden of a huge distribution system and ensure timely delivery as well.
So, the higher authorities decided to divide the work. Now PUNSUP will distribute 174 metric tonnes of dal among the beneficiaries in the district and the rest the second agency will deliver.
PUNSUP's managing director Jasbir Singh confirmed the development but said the agency was yet to receive any written communication. "We have only a few food inspectors in the district but Pungrain has a sufficient staff of them," he said.
Depot holders strike over
Jalandhar food supply deputy director Karunesh Sharma confirmed that the decision had been taken because of the Food Security Act provisions and now both procurement agencies would do the delivery.
Depot Holders' Association district president Anup Sareen, however, said the strike of his trade was over now after cabinet minister Chunni Lal Bhagat has agreed to take up the matter with the government.
Under its ambitious scheme, the government will give wheat for Rs 1 per kilogram and pulses for Rs 20 per kg to nearly 30-lakh blue-card holders in the state. Families with annual income of below Rs 60,000, owners of less than 2.5 acres of land, and all 100-yard-plot holders in the urban areas are eligible to get the blue cards and, hence, the benefit of the new scheme.