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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar:  Expressing concerns over the lack of measures to replace private dealers engaged in Public Distribution System (PDS) with institutional ones, the Odisha Food Commission has asked all Collectors to ensure that the government directive on replacement of dealers is implemented by March 15, 2018.

A letter issued to all Collectors by the Commission stated "As it appears, the licensing authorities have almost forgotten regarding this time-bound activity. It would be just and proper for you to ensure that not a single private dealer is allowed to operate any Fair Price Shop (FPS) beyond 15th, March 2018".

The Food Supplies and Consumers Welfare Department had notified on March 16, 2016 that all private dealers are to be replaced by institutional ones within a period of two years i.e by March 15, 2018.

The Commission further pointed out that the licensing authorities, who are supposed to make surprise inspection at least at two per cent of the number of FPSs, have paid little heed to the government directive as most of the shops are violating official guidelines.

"It is really a matter of concern that not a single Licensing Authority took this assignment seriously," the Commission lamented.

The government norms stipulate that the FPSs should display certain information on notice board including list of ration cards, opening and closing time of the shop and name and authorities who can be approached with grievances regarding any irregularities.

In view of the Commission’s concern, OTV found such irregularities in some of the coastal districts like Balasore, Bhadrak and Ganjam.

According to reports, out of 1,613 dealers engaged in PDS activities in Balasore district, 1,505 are private ones while in Bhadrak, 373 private dealers out of 521 are functioning.

The dealers in these districts have opposed the abolition of private dealers system. They said that consumers will face problems if such a rule is implemented.

"The consumers would bear the brunt if the government replaces private dealers. Problems will arise in delivery of essential commodities under PDS to the consumers," said Kishore Nayak, a dealer from Bhadrak.

Sources said a total 12,600 dealers are engaged in PDS in State out of which 6,000 are private dealers.

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