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New form from Nov 5 to facilitate surrender of old ration cards

Kolkata: The state Food & Supplies department will roll out a new form from November 5 so that people who do not avail the facilities of foodgrains under the National Food Security or State Food Security can surrender their ration cards.

"The people who will surrender their old ration cards will be given a new identity card which will enable them to get a discount while purchasing items from a leading Indian retail chain of hypermarkets, department stores, and grocery stores. We are holding talks to finalise the discount rates," said Jyotipriya Mallick, the state Food and Supplies minister.

Sources in the Food department said the government has proposed a discount of 7 percent while the retail chain under its parent organisation Future Group wants to offer 4 percent.

The minister, along with senior officials of the Food department, held a video conference with the District Magistrates on Thursday to inform them of this initiative and issue directions about the measures to ensure that people face no difficulty in the process. The new form (Form 10) will be available on the department's website and camps will be held to assist the people in filling them up.

It may be mentioned that the department had signed an MoU with the Future Group two years back for a project of converting ration shops across the state into mini-malls.

Under the project, 403 products that are available at the popular supermarket chain stores across the state are already available in the

ration shops in North 24-Parganas district.

The project is presently being implemented in Hooghly and Howrah and will follow in the other districts too.

The Centre had fixed a quota of 6.1 crore people under the National Food Security in Bengal availing the benefits of subsidised foodgrains. The target has already been reached and so no new beneficiaries can be added afresh. "This new initiative is aimed at making these people surrender their cards so that more and more needy people can derive benefits of this subsidised PDS system," the official added.

The new card will render the old ration cards null and void and foodgrains or kerosene oil cannot be availed. But it will be an identity proof with the address and other necessary details of an individual. Any person above the age of five can apply for this new card. It will be sent through post to the address of the beneficiary.

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