Food & Supplies dept begins installation of POS machines in ration shops across state
Kolkata: The state Food & Supplies department has started installing POS machines in ration shops across the state to prevent fleecing of customers by a section of the shop owners. The POS machines will also facilitate people in availing multipurpose facilities like purchase of railway tickets, bus tickets for distant travel, deposit of LIC premium and several other facilities.
"We have already installed such machines in 366 ration shops in six districts as a pilot project and the venture has proved to be successful. We will be installing similar facilities in all the 21,000 ration shops across the state. The machines have already been sent to the shops," state Food & Supplies minister Jyotipriya Mallick said. The department has already organised training programmes across the state for equipping the dealers in handling POS machines. Murshidabad and Raiganj in North Dinajpur are the two places where training is pending.
Mallick on Friday chaired a meeting with the ration dealers across the state and instructed them to start feeding Aadhar card data of people in the POS machines.
"We need to feed data of every single member in the family who has a ration card. The shop owners have been urged to do this work after the usual hours of purchase or sale or on off days," a senior official of the department said.
The POS machines will be able to detect fraudulent practices like giving less quantity of food grains to customers or dealing in inferior stuff which is not actually supplied by the department. "It will serve the dual objective of quality as well as quantity control," Mallick added.
It may be mentioned that the Centre has recently written to the state Food department threatening to stop subsidy of foodgrains if the POS machines are not installed by June-July. "The Supreme Court has mandated Aadhar for subsidy in foodgrains. But we have still 29 percent people in the state who do not have Aadhar cards. We have sought permission from the top brass of the state administration to move the Apex Court and inform them about the ground reality. We will write to the Centre informing our progress and seek time for the process," Mallick said.