In order to ensure foolproof transparency and efficiency in the distribution of food grains, Punjab Food & Supplies Minister Mr.Bharat Bhushan Ashu today launched a statewide distribution of food grains under SMART RATION CARD SCHEME through e-POS machines, during a State Level Function organized at Kisan Vikas Chamber, SAS Nagar. This biometric supported electronic system would eradicate anomalies of the conventional public distribution system and decimate the probability of ghost beneficiaries, said he. “A regime of total transparency in Public distribution system has commenced”, said Mr. Bharat Bhushan Ashu . Fulfilling a long standing demand of Fair Price Shop owners, FSM also rolled out the distribution of cheques of enhanced honorarium to them. He informed that the government has enhanced the margin money/commission of wheat distribution for Fair Price shop (FPS) owners from existing Rs. 25 to Rs. 50 per quintal whereby a payment of Rs.40crore would be made to the 16000 FPS owners in the State. He further stated that all the other demands raised by FPS owners were also being considered.Reiterating government's firm commitment to bring benefit of government schemes till the last man standing, Mr.Bharat Bhushan Ashu pointed out that shifting to Aadahar linked identification and electronic distribution coupled with End to End computerization would revolutionize the system of distribution of food grains across the state. He also said that government had fulfilled its promise and now it was the duty of FPS owners that they work with complete honesty and dedication for the further improvement of the Public Distribution System (PDS). He said that the government would further increase the margin money in future as well, depending upon the financial health of the State.
FSM said that Depot holders had struggled a lot during the tenure of previous Government but now Congress Government under the leadership of Captain Amarinder Singh has fulfilled its poll manifesto promises. Terming FPS owners as the backbone of the society, he added that strengthening of depot holders was mandatory for the upliftment of underprivileged sections. Pointing out the need to further increase the domain of public distribution, he stated that department was in talks with private players to facilitate supply of products of daily needs to consumers through FPS.
Member Parliament from Gurdaspur Mr.Sunil Jakhar while congratulating the depot holders stated that it was the right of FPS owners and Congress government had fulfilled as promised. He further stated that Supply of sugar, tea leaves and pulses at subsidized rates would be soon implemented which would be a major price check mechanism. He said that the enhancement in honorarium and wheat distribution through e-POS technology was another major step to streamline the distribution system. The leakages have been plugged by the government and Government was committed to ensure delivery of food grains to all genuine beneficiaries. Lambasting the previous SAD-BJP government for mortgaging interests of Punjab by plunging the State into Rs 31,000 Crore debt on the last day of their government, he said Captain Amarinder Singh had prevailed over the Union government by apprising them with the fact that this money should be returned to Punjab. Thanking the Chief Minister for breaking the back of Drug Mafia, he stated that Captain Amarinder Singh was determined to wipe out this menace from the state. While urging everyone to contribute their bit in this noble cause, he said that Punjab was our collective responsibility.
Power Minister Gurpreet Singh Kangar congratulated Captain Amarinder Singh for the historic decisions which he had taken despite the massive financial strain. Waiving of farm debt has brought much needed respite to the beleaguered farmers who were left in the lurch by the previous government, he added. Exhorting the depot holders to work even more proactively for the society, he said the enhanced honorarium was also an increased responsibility.Speaking on the occasion, Cabinet Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu, while thanking the Chief Minister, pointed out that despite the financial crunch Captain Amarinder Singh has fulfilled what he had promised. He said that release of Rs. 40 Crore to Depot Holders was yet another step by the Chief Minister towards realizing the aspirations of the people of the state.Earlier in his welcome address, Principal Secretary Food & Supplies Mr. K.A.P Sinha said that marketing of agricultural produce was vital to Punjab and department plays a proactive role in facilitating these services to farmers. Lauding the depot holders as the most important cog in department's set up, he said that department would always consider all their demands sympathetically.Besides others, Mr Kuljit Singh Nagra, Mr Gurpreet Singh GP, Mr. Angad Siaini(all MLAs), Deputy Commissioner Mrs.Gurpreet Kaur Sapra, Director Food and Civil Supplies, Mrs. Anindita Mitra, President Punjab State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission Rtd. Justice Paramjit Singh Dhaliwal and SSP Kuldeep Singh Chahal were also present among other prominent personalities.