Ration supply in Kerala to go hi-tech from next fiscal

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 14 :  From the next fiscal (2017-18), the statutory ration supplies in Kerala would turn hi-tech, said a state government official on Wednesday.

Addressing reporters here, Food and Supplies Secretary Minnie Antony said that automation is going forward in a big way and by April 1 next year, ration supplies will be hi-tech.

“Right from the arrival of stocks to the godowns, till the ration reaches the hand of the customer, it can be tracked. Even officials sitting in Delhi can at the click of a mouse find out the stock positions,” he said.

The Kerala government is supported by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) for the Rs 250 crore project, which began during the previous Oommen Chandy government, to make the 14,000 ration shops in the state turn paperless.

However this modernisation comes at a time, when the statutory ration supplies have been badly hit for the past one month on account of a labour strike and also when the state government was slow to toe the central guidelines that has to be put in place according to the Food Securites Act.

While former Chief Minister Chandy on Wednesday flayed the Pinarayi Vijayan government in not rising to the occasion as this is the first time in the history of the state that statutory rations came to a standstill, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala has taken United Democratic Front legislators to Delhi to meet Union Food and Public Distribution Minister, Ram Vilas Paswan.

But the state government hit back.

“The Act was brought out by Chandy’s party colleague K.V.Thomas when he was the Union Minister and then he (Chandy) nor the state government under him did anything, now he points fingers at us. We have lifted the stocks and the supplies in a few districts were hit and now things are getting back to normal. The issue with the head load workers have also been sorted out,” State Minister for Food and Civil Supplies E. Thilothaman told reporters here.

Under the ration supply, 1.54 crore people get, four kg rice and one kg wheat free of cost, 1.24 crore people get two kg of rice at Rs 2 per kg and 65 lakh people gets a kg of rice at Rs 8.90 and wheat at Rs 6.70.