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State eases renewal, issuance of licenses for ration dealers

Kolkata: The state Food and Supplies department has simplified the process of renewal and issuance of new licence for ration dealers across the state. The department has also expanded the ambit of dealership by allowing more family members of ration dealers to avail of such facilities in case of death or any serious ailment of the concerned dealer.

"Previously if a dealer died or suffered any serious ailment, either the wife, parents or son or widow of predeceased son or daughter, who is dependent on the dealer, could register as a dealer. Now, we have included son's spouse , son or daughter, daughter's spouse, son or daughter, brother's spouse, son or daughter , sister's spouse , son or daughter , parents' brother or sister, spouse's brother or sister under this category," a senior official of the department said.

The department has also taken a significant step towards economic empowerment when it comes to application for a new dealer or wholesaler's licence.

"Previously a dealership licence was granted to a person who maintained a bank balance of Rs 5 lakh for a period of 1 year. Now, one who maintains a bank balance of Rs 2.5 lakh for 6 months can avail dealership licence. This will surely encourage more dealers to venture into this business," the official added.

The existing ration dealers can now renew their licence for a period of 2 years by paying a fee of Rs 2,000 at a time. The entire application and payment process can be made online. The dealers have been asked to renew their licences by January 31. Dealers, who fail to renew their licence in January, can do so in February against a fine of Rs 5000. If renewal is not done by February, then the licence will be terminated from March. Previously, licences had to be renewed every year and 20278 ration dealers across the state had urged the department to extend the period of licence renewal.

"We have already installed Electronic Point of Sale (E-PoS) machines at all ration shops in the state and our surveillance mechanism has been strengthened to curb dealers from cheating beneficiaries. We have taken steps by cancelling the licence of unscrupulous dealers and it is an ongoing process. So the process of extending the renewal period by a year will save time on both the dealers' and our inspectors' part," the official said.

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