MARGAO: It has been revealed that the commission of Goan fair price shop (FPS) owners for food grains distributed during the Covid-19 pandemic under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKY) is pending for a simple reason that is non-compliance report from the Civil Supplies Department. However, the reason for dues for the last three months is best known to the department.
Sources informed that under the scheme, the department is supposed to deliver the stock of food grains at the door steps of the fair price shops, which the department failed to do, and as result the funds to the State government from the Centre have been blocked.
The Central government is still awaiting a compliance report from the State's Civil Supplies Department, besides there were no bidders for the tender floated by the department for delivery of the food grains.
Hence, the prevailing situation has forced the fair price shop owners to bear the brunt, in order to bring the food grains from godown, resulting in losses.
It is pertinent to note that the All Goa Consumer Co-operative Society and Fair Price Shop Owners’ Association (AGCCSFPSWA) has decided against collecting the quota of food grains for November as their last instalment to the tune of around Rs 1 crore is outstanding.
“The last meeting of the committee which was constituted by the government, to find a solution was held on August 8. At the meeting it was revealed that the commission of the fair price shop owners under the PMGKY was pending only because of the non-compliance report from the department,” sources said.
The Department had floated the tender to deliver the food grains under the said scheme twice, at the door steps of the fair price shops, but there were no bidders and hence the department once again started the process.
Gandhi Henriques, general secretary of Fair Price Shop Owners’ Association, said that nearly 452 fair price shop owners have been waiting to get commission under the PMGKY scheme for almost seven months, towards the food grains distributed for free to Below Poverty Line (BPL) cardholders.
“The free distribution of the food grains was stopped in December 2022. However, it was later re-started from January 2023 for the Priority Household (PHH) ration cardholders, but this commission too is pending for the last three months,” said Henriques.
He informed that since the entire FPS owners are forced to spend the amount from their pocket in transportation and towards the labour charges, besides suffering losses with regards to handling of stock.
Shailesh Mahambre, another FPS owner, who was a representative from the North district on the committee formed by the government told O Heraldo that they are facing a tough time on account of the dues the government is supposed to pay to them.
“We want the government to come out with a solution at the earliest so that the burden on the FPS owners is lessened,” he appealed.
However, the officials of the department concerned failed to respond to the repeated phone calls when O Heraldo tried to get their reactions on the issue which has forced the FPS owners to decide not to collect the food grain quota for November.