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No takers for 1.71-lakh grocery kits

Around 1.71-lakh grocery kits delivered to Public Distribution System shops for distributing free of cost among ration card holders in the State in view of the lockdown had no takers, as per an initial estimate by the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation (Supplyco).

Supplyco, which had put together the kit containing 17 items and costing around ₹1,000, has already initiated steps to collect the leftover kits back as the last date for their distribution through ration shops expired on May 26. The State government had allocated around ₹350 crore for the distribution of kits to all ration card holders from the second week of April.

Via Supplyco outlets

“We are awaiting instructions from the government for distribution of undelivered kits through Supplyco outlets. For this, we should be made provided the list of the ration card holders,” said a senior Supplyco official.

Ration dealers feel that there would not have been leftover kits if they were distributed by checking ration cards, as initially promised, without the mandatory biometric impressions in the electronic point of sale (e-POS) machines. “In many cases the biometric impressions could not be captured depriving the eligible of the kits. Besides, many who were not at home could not collect the kits and since biometrics were made mandatory they could not delegate someone else to collect them,” said Johnny Nelloor, State president, All Kerala Retail Ration Dealers Association.

There are over 14,000 ration shops across the State and many had reported leftover kits between 20 and 40.

Weighing kits

The return of kits has also become a matter of contention between the Supplyco and ration shop dealers. “Supplyco delivered the kits at ration shops in phases and without weighing. But now when we are returning the kits, they are insisting on weighing them and this has led to problems at many shops,” said Mr. Nelloor.

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