Kerala government would start providing food articles to ration card holders across the state under the National Food Security Act from April one. Process to make the Public Distribution System more transparent had already started and new ration cards would be distributed in March, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies P Thilothaman told reporters on Thursday. He said state would ask the Centre to restore the rice quota of the state to 16.50 lakh metric tonne per annum for distribution under PDS. This would be taken up with the Union Food Minister Ramvilas Paswan during the meeting to be held at New Delhi on January 16, he said.
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There was a cut in the quantity of rice for the state after National Food Security Act came into force, he said. The state would get only 14.50 lakh metric tonne in place of 16.50 lakh metric tonne which it was receiving, he pointed out.
Referring to UDF Opposition criticism that PDS in the state has collapsed, Thilothaman said problems in the distribution of food articles through ration shops has ended. Distribution of ration articles for the last month was expected to be completed by January 14 and supply of articles for the current month has also started, Thilothaman told reporters here.
State faced problems in the PDS after there was a reduction in the quantity of food articles following the implementation of National Food Security Act, he pointed out. However, the state was now able to supply rice and wheat, to persons in Antyodaya Anna Yojana list and priority list category and also to non-priority list group, he said.
Stating that stern action would be taken against corruption, he said officials recovered nearly 100 tone of spoiled rice kept for distribution under PDS from a private mill in Kottayam.
A total of 1.87 lakh metric tonne paddy was procured from 53078 farmers at a price of Rs 22.50 per kg in the first season so far. Out of a total of Rs 420.76 crore due to farmers under this account, an amount of Rs 184.78 crore was disbursed so far, he pointed out.