Jammu & Kashmir

‘Black marketing’: Consumers suffer as authorities continue to use offline mode for ration distribution in Srinagar

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A file photo of ration distribution centre.

Srinagar: Black marketing of ration distribution still continues in some areas of Srinagar as authorities continue to use offline mode for distribution of ration despite having e-PoS machines installed and coming under high internet coverage.

A man weighs rice bags inside a Govt ration distribution shop in Pulwama district of south Kashmir. [FPK Photo/ Qayoom Khan]

In 2015, India’s Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution Minister, Ram Vilas Paswan had said in Lok Sabha that “Jammu and Kashmir has completed 98 percent of ration card data digitization and is in the progress of online allocation of the nation,” he had said.

In 2017, Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Chowdhary Zulfikar Ali had also said that PoS machines would initially, be installed in urban districts before June and efforts would be made to make the process of making PDS cashless in all 22 districts of the state by the end of December 2017.

According to the officials of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, the department has achieved only 70-75% of the target of installation of Point of Sales (e-PoS) machines in Srinagar district.

“All the dealers in Srinagar were directed to start online digital machines for ration distribution so as to make the system accountable and transparent,” the official said.

However, in the areas where e-PoS machines have already been installed, the concerned authorities still distribute ration through offline mode giving the reason that there is poor internet connectivity due to which they continue the black marketing.

The areas include New Theed, Dara, and Khimbar in Batapora Srinagar where 24 ePoS machines are installed at various ration ghats and 24 dealers are assigned with it.

The locals in the area said that the area is coming under high internet coverage but the dealers still use offline mode for the distribution of ration supplies.

“We have better 4G internet connectivity in these areas and the department has installed ePoS machines but the dealers are still distributing ration through offline mode.

Last month the outsider team came to Batpora circle to monitor the network coverage. The team have been misled by local officers and shown them non-network areas so that they could continue black marketing of ration,” said a local resident of Batapora area on the condition of anonymity.

People outside Govt ration distribution shop in south Kashmir’s Pulwama. [FPK Photo/ Qayoom Khan]

He said that the residents have many a time informed the department about this issue but they have taken no action so far.

Speaking to the Free Press Kashmir, Director Food, Civil Supplies, and Consumer Affairs, Abdul Samad Mir, said, “I was not aware of this thing but I will look into the matter seriously and strict action will be taken against the officers whoever is involved in this matter.”

 

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