Thiruvananthapuram: Confusion prevailed in many ration shops in the state over the distribution of free food grain on Friday. This has even led to altercation between the consumers and the ration shop owners.
The major bones of contention were the quality and quantity of of foodgrains.
The free rice and wheat distribution began on Thursday.
Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY, yellow) and Priority Household card holders are eligible for the regular supply of 30kg foodgrain. While AAY card holders will get the grain for free, priority card holders have to pay a nominal fee. Non-priority card holders (subsidy blue card and non-subsidy white card) are eligible for free 15kg of grain over and above their regular ration.
Scuffles and fistfights were reported from many places when the ration shop owners refused to give free rice and wheat for eligible card holders.
Many said the confusion could have avoided had the government specified these details well in advance.
Since the food and civil supplies department has done away with the biometric authentication to buy foodgrain, the ration shop owners have to manually enter the quantity of foodgrain and amount in the electronic point of sale (EPOS) machine.
The details will then be sent to the card holders' phone via SMS. This facility will be available to those who have linked ration card to Aadhaar. Many consumers complained that messages have been sent to wrong phone numbers.
Civil Supplies promises action
In the wake of increasing complaints, the food and civil supplies department has promised to take action against erring shop owners.
Consumers are also encouraged to contact the helpline numbers if they notice any malpractices.
Here are the helpline numbers:
Complaints on food distribution: 0471-2320379.
Complaints on quantity: Legal Metrology Department 8281698007
Toll-free number: 1800 425 4835.