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900 fair price shops in Ahmedabad to remain shut from Sunday

PTI November 16, 2014 7:59 IST

Ahmedabad: Demanding abolishment of bio-metric ration cards in Gujarat, around 900 fair price shops in Ahmedabad city will remain close for an indefinite period from Sunday, Fair Price Shops Association (FPSA) president Prahlad Modi said yesterday.

“Until the Gujarat government introduces a new, simpler and easier system for public distribution system (PDS), all the 900 fair price shops in the city will remain shut and it will affect more than five lakh people here including BPL (below poverty line) card holders,” Prahlad told PTI.

Prahlad Modi is elder brother of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The bio-metric system is not people-friendly and is very complicated. People often do not find their thumb print matched and so they have to return without taking food-grain, sugar or other essential commodities. The state government is solely responsible for the agony of the people as well as the shop owners,” Prahlad said.

“All the fair-price shops in Gujarat will remain close in upcoming days, if the state government does not take any decision,” he said.

Bio-metric ration cards were introduced in March 2013 during Narendra Modi's tenure as the Chief Minister.  However, the state government has said that any irregularities in the distribution of food items by the fair price shop owners is kept under check due to the bio-metric ration card system and it will provide ration to people through other system if the fair price shop owners close their operations.

“The state's Food and Civil Supply Department has made constant efforts to give bio-metric ration cards to each and every citizen. However, there are still six to seven per cent people, who are yet to get the bio-metric cards,” Principal Secretary in Food and Civil Supply Department R P Gupta said.  

“We have asked the people to get new cards from our zonal  offices. There are still some people, whose cards are not being matched with their thumb-impression, that is the reason why people are not getting ration from the fair price shops,” Gupta added.

The official further said that the bio-metric ration cards were helping in curbing the alleged irregularities by the fair price shop owners.

“We will provide the essential commodities to ration card holders through some other alternatives, if these shops remain close for indefinite time period,” he said.