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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

Punjab plans to distribute wheat through co-op societies

PTI  Chandigarh, January 20, 2014
First Published: 22:19 IST(20/1/2014) | Last Updated: 22:22 IST(20/1/2014)

The Punjab government plans to distribute wheat under the atta-dal scheme directly to beneficiaries once a year through cooperative societies or village panchayats, eliminating the role of fair-price shops.

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The move follows the pattern adopted by Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, and aims at bringing transparency in the distribution of foodgrains, principal secretary, food and civil supplies, Punjab, DS Grewal said here on Monday.

"We have plans to distribute wheat under the atta-dal scheme among beneficiaries (blue-card holders) once a year after the arrival of crop in grain markets.

"The distribution job could be allotted to cooperative societies, village panchayats or villagers who will distribute wheat directly from grain markets to beneficiaries," he said, adding that a beneficiary would get the allotted annual quota of 60 kg of wheat in one go.

The official said the issues of transparency and supply shortage were addressed by this method.
Grewal said the method, adopted by Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, avoided the need to depend on fair-price shop owners.

Around 26,000 fair-price shop owners in Punjab are on strike now, demanding a fixed sum of money for distribution of subsidised foodgrains under the atta-dal scheme.

The Punjab government provides wheat at Re 1 per kg and 2.5-kg pulses at Rs. 20 per kg under the new atta-dal scheme.

As many as 13.5 lakh beneficiary families have been included under the scheme and so far, 15.4 lakh families have been provided wheat and dal.

Currently, beneficiaries are getting subsidised foodgrains on a quarterly basis.

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