Supplyco awaiting Rs 220 cr from govt to put together Onam kit

Representational image. Shutterstock/Santhosh Varghese

Kochi: The Kerala Government's free Onam food kit may run into trouble if Supplyco fails to procure provisions in time. Supplyco's market operations are hindered as it is short of funds and a promised government payment has not been realised so far. The distribution of kits to the yellow ration card holders on Chingam 1 itself as announced would be difficult.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan recently announced that Onam food kits with 14 items would be distributed this time.

Thiruvonam, which marks the most important day of the 10-day Onam festivities, falls on September 8 this year.

Salt shipment awaited

The government had announced that the Onam kits would be distributed through the ration shops on August 10. However, salt has not been procured yet. The salt consignments are to reach Kochi by ship from three companies in Gujarat.

Supplyco authorities expect it to reach Kochi on August 16. It can be moved to different godowns on the same day and Onam kit distribution can be started on August 17, they hope.

It is not easy to move the salt consignment to all 1,500 packing centres across Kerala in one day. Besides, there are not enough cloth bags. The delay in getting the cloth bags printed with the State’s special emblem is owing to a shortage of bags.

The Supplyco Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Ali Asgar Pasha had earlier directed the depot managers to expedite the process of preparing the kits and setting up the packing centres.

Wait on for funds

The government had informed Supplyco that Rs 220 crore would be allotted for the free Onam kit distribution and the remaining Rs 180 crore may be taken from the budget allotment as operational funds. However, Supplyco has not yet received the Rs 220 crore said to be allotted for Onam kits.

With the budget allocation for operational funds also not released on time, Supplyco's market interventions are hampered.

The government owes Rs 1,590 crore to Supplyco as of now, including the Rs 640 crore for paddy procurement, Rs 60 crore towards the expenses incurred to transport food grains from godowns to rations shops as part of doorstep delivery of rationed items, Rs 680 crore for market intervention and Rs 21 crore towards food grain distribution for the noon-meal scheme in schools.

The food kit

  • Sugar: 1 kg
  • Green grams: 500 gm
  • Toor dal: 250 gm
  • Unakkalari: 500 gm
  • Sabari coconut oil: 500 ml
  • Sabari Tea: 100 gm
  • Sabari chilli powder: 100 gm
  • Sabari turmeric powder: 100 gm
  • Sarkara varatti: 100 gm
  • Cashew nuts: 50 gm
  • Cardamom: 20 gm
  • Milma ghee: 50 ml
  • Salt: 1 kg
  • Cloth bag: 1

The Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited is better known by its brand name Supplyco.

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