People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 31

July 05, 2012




CPI(M) Demands Weeding Out

Irregularities in PDS


S P Rajendran



THE Tamilnadu state committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) had organised a three-phased agitation and propaganda on the issue of food security in the month of July.


In the first two weeks of the month, the Party had conducted a survey on the functioning of the fair price shops, popularly known as ration shops in various districts.


On the basis of the survey, demanding proper functioning of the ration shops, the Party had organised demonstrations and sit-in protests in front of nearly 1500 ration shops throughout the state.


In the third phase, culminating with the national level movement of the Left parties for food security which had begun on July 30 in New Delhi, the CPI(M) in Tamilnadu had organised massive demonstrations in front of taluks and regional food supply offices at nearly 150 centers.




The survey conducted by the Party revealed many irregularities in the functioning of the ration shops in the state.


Fair price shops set up by the state government under the public distribution system are not functioning fairly and many consumers have expressed dissatisfaction over the negligence of officials, who have failed to monitor activities of the employees deputed to such shops.


Such shops had been set up by the government only with the intention of delivering commodities to consumers without inconvenience, but many personnel deputed at the shops were lethargic in discharging the duties assigned to them, the survey report from Thoothukudi district said.


Prompt delivery was lacking and consumers were made to run from pillar to post, citing lack of stock.


The consumers, who largely relied on fair price shops to buy essential commodities, were badly affected.


Stock position of commodities at fair price shops were not verified and maintained at regular intervals and often the consumers had to return empty handed.


Kerosene supply was not adequate to meet the consumers’ demands.


Considering all these legitimate demands, a monitoring committee involving members of various organisations should be constituted to solve the crisis, a survey team said.


“Stringent measures should be initiated against those indulging in smuggling commodities meant for the public distribution system. Inspections should be made regularly to gauge the quantity of the essential commodities and to ensure flawless delivery of goods for consumers in possession of family cards. No consumer should be forced to procure any commodity as a substitute for the desired commodity, which is not available at shops”, the people expressed to another team.


Partial allocations, smuggling,  unwarranted interventions of the ruling party men, lethargic attitude of in-charges of the ration shops, abrupt reduction of quantities supplied from the shops, abrupt scrapping of lakhs of family cards and not able to approach food officials were the complaints of the people.


On the basis of this survey, CPI(M) staged protests in front of PDS shops. Pressing the above demands, CPI(M) cadre urged the central government not to reduce its allotment of rice and kerosene to states. They asked the state government to provide 35 kilos of free rice in fair price shops. Poverty line set by central government should not be unrealistic. There should not be any delay in the supply of cooking gas cylinders and they must be supplied through fair price shops, they said.




Across the state, on July 30, CPI(M) staged demonstrations before the taluk offices condemning irregularities in the distribution of ration items.


Addressing the gathering at regional food supply directors’ office, G Ramakrishnan, state secretary of the Party said that 35 kg of rice should be distributed to all eligible ration card holders. Short supply marred distribution of pulses and other commodities to ration card holders regularly. Only two litres of kerosene, instead of three litres were sold to card holders in villages. Quantum of goods supplied to farmers was also very less, he said. Tamilnadu is in need of 65,000 Kilolitres of kerosene per month, but the centre is allotting only 39,000 Kl, he said.


In the city of Chennai, 17 centres had witnessed such massive protests.


Party Central Committee members T K Rangarajan MP, U Vasuki, A Soundararajan MLA, K Balakrishnan MLA and P Sampath led the movement in various districts. The agitators appealed to the government to weed out irregularities in PDS distribution and streamline supply of essential commodities to all eligible beneficiaries. They also raised slogans against the central government for attempting to sabotage the PDS under the ruse of Food Security Bill.