Beneficiaries hit as 66 fair price shops shut in Panvel
Shopkeepers complain about high rentals, transport cost
PANVEL: Rising property prices, rentals and increased transportation cost along with reduced margins is making it difficult to run fair price shops in Panvel, At least 66 fair price shops are reported to have shut down in the taluka recently.
This has resulted in additional load on the other fair price shops, affecting the distribution of grains and other commodities in the region. The increasing number of complaints to the food supplies department has the officials and personnel worried.
Meanwhile, permission has been given for 13 new shops in the taluka.
In the rural areas, there is a huge rush at these shops as people are dependent on the supply of their quota of wheat, rice and sugar from these shops.
There are over 60,000 beneficiaries of food security scheme. They get 25 kg of rice at Rs3 a kg and 10 kg of food grains for Rs2. APL and BPL beneficiaries get 3kg of rice and 2kg of wheat at the same price.
APL card holders get 10 kg of rice and 5 kg of wheat at Rs9.60 a kg and Rs7.20 a kg respectively. Apart from this, tur dal, palm oil and sugar is also given.
The shopkeeper is the middleman between the food supplies department and the beneficiaries. However, with the shopkeepers not getting much of a margin, they have shut their shops while others are planning to shut shop soon.
Shashikant Waghmare, rationing officer, Panvel, said, “Some shops in Panvel taluka have shut down. We have directed supplies to those villages from alternative shops.”
Waghmare said, “As per the high court order, the shops should be given to self- help groups ( SHGs). However, they do not confirm to the norms. There are several anomalies in their applications and hence it becomes difficult to grant permission for new shops.”
He said, “The shopkeepers are upset about high rentals, vehicle cost and so on.”
The food supplies department has issued advertisements, inviting SHGs to run fair price shops.
While some SHGs are registered, they do not have the financial capability, others do not have all the requisite documents. Several applications submitted are incomplete.