14,300 dealers yet to receive dues of over ₹45 crore: Chennithala
Food and Civil Supplies Minister G.R. Anil on Tuesday turned down the demand made by ration dealers for their commission dues for the distribution of provision kits during the last 10 months.
Replying to a submission made by former Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, Mr. Anil said the government was not in a position to agree to the demand on account of the pandemic-induced financial crisis. Stopping short of saying that the demand was rejected, he said that it would be considered with due seriousness.
Mr. Chennithala claimed that around 14,300 ration dealers were yet to receive their dues amounting to over ₹45 crore during the last 10 months. While the government had fixed ₹7 for each kit distributed during the first month of the drive that was launched in wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the rate was later decreased to ₹5. He added that the public distribution system was often affected due to the technical glitches in the e-PoS system. Besides, no solatium was provided to the dealers even after 55 among them succumbed to the disease. Calling ration dealers the State’s frontline workers who strived to ensure food security during the pandemic period, Mr. Anil said the government had provided ₹5.91 crore during April – May 2020 and ₹4.68 crore during August and September 2020 as commission. Honorariums of ₹1,000 too were distributed to each ration dealer.
While maintaining that the e-PoS system has been rarely disrupted by glitches in the public distribution server (PDS) controlled by the Department, the Minister said there have been instances when the SIM cards used in the PoS machine has faced network reception problems.
Disconnections with the Aadhaar server has also posed hurdles in ration distribution. Under the circumstances, the government has sought the National Informatics Centre (NIC)’s permission to use its authentication user agency (AUA) server to facilitate seamless transactions.
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