Public deprived of edible oil, pulses under PDS
Source: The Sangai Express
Imphal, March 07 2013:
Although edible oil and pulses are included under the Public Distribution System (PDS) and there is a provision to provide these items to the people at subsidised rates, the State Government is unable to extend these benefits to the people of Manipur.
At the same time, edible oil and pulses which otherwise should be provided at subsidised rates are readily available in the markets of Imphal and people are purchasing these items at much higher prices.
Edible oil and pulses included in the list of PDS items are Palmolin oil, Arhar, Moong, Urao, Yellow Pea and Masoor dal.
Apart from these items, iodised salt and coal are also included in the list of PDS items.
According to information received from Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution (CAF&PD) Department, rules and norms say that these PDS items should be shipped in from Kolkata sea port in raw form and they should be processed and packaged in Manipur before these items are made available to the people at the subsidised rates fixed by the Government of India.
To obtain these items, the Government of India identified five firms namely Mineral and Metal Trading Corporation, National Agricultural Cooperative Private Limited, National Cooperative Consumer Federation, Project Equipment Cooperation Limited and State Trading Cooperation.
Out of these five firms, the Government may select three firms of its choice and obtain the PDS items from them.
But the Government of Manipur is unable to procure these items for the last many years as there is no processing and packaging facility in the State.
Even though there is no processing and packaging facility, CAF&PD Department nominated Manipur Apex Cooperative Society, Manipur State Cooperative Consumers Federation, M/S LI Enterprises (Thoubal Bazar), M/S Pea Associate (Wangkhei) and M/S Sarajeevan Enterprises as stockists cum transporters to ship in the edible oil and pulses from Kolkata sea port in raw form.
Again, in 2009, the department put in serious efforts to ship a few of these items after processing and packaging at Kolkata.
The two items selected by the Department for Shipping in after processing and packaging at Kolkata were yellow pea and edible oil, conveyed the source.
The price of yellow pea is Rs 16 per Kg at Kolkata.
If the Government of India's subsidy of Rs 10 is taken into account, its cost is reduced to Rs 6 per kg.
After subtracting transporting charge, stockist commission, processing charge, packaging charge, wastage charge and marginal profit for Fair Price Shops, yellow pea should be made available to the people of Manipur at Rs 21.72 per Kg.
Price of edible oil (Palmolin oil) at Kolkata sea port after subtracting Government of India's subsidy of Rs 15 is Rs 48.10 per Kg and it should be sold at Rs 61.24 per Kg at Imphal after subtracting transportation and all other charges.
During 2009, Palmolin oil and yellow pea were available at Imphal at Rs 50-55 and Rs 22 respectively.
Because of the little difference in the market prices and subsidised prices, all the efforts of CAF&PD department proved meaningless.
According to an independent survey conducted by TSE at Imphal, prices of some PDS items available in markets are Palmolin oil Rs 70 per Kg, Arhar dal Rs 90 per Kg, Moong dal Rs 90 per Kg, Urao dal Rs 85 per Kg, yellow pea Rs 38 per Kg and Massorie dal Rs 65 per Kg.