The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday issued notices to the state government and the director and joint director of food and civil supplies department on a petition filed by the Gujarat Fair Price Shops and Kerosene Licence Holder Association, challenging the move to disallow withdrawal of supplies by fair price shops (FPS) in installments.
On the petition moved by the chairperson of the association, Prahlad Modi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s brother, the court of Justice Bhargav Karia issued notice to the respondents and asked the state government to explain why the existing system of picking up supplies in multiple installments for fair price shops’ quota has been disallowed.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Prahlad Modi said, “On October 19 this year, the directorate of Food and Civil Supplies department passed an order that stopped issuance of items in partial quantity to fair price shop owners. Earlier, fair price shop owners would take up part of their supplies in installments, depending on demand, and would complete the quota by the 15th of the month. Our storage facilities have been built that way and permits were given after proper approval and inspection of our storage facilities.”
“Now they want to take up the entire stock for the month and where do we store it? If we take space on rent, our costs increase. We made several representations, including to the Chief Minister and the state minister of food and civil supplies, Jayesh Radadiya,” he added.
The official communication signed by the joint director of the department, says that the move will ensure “that all godowns are well-stocked and that farmers are given a fair price at the time of procurement of the essential commodities”. It was initially ordered to be implemented from December 1.
However, after a representation by the association, it has been extended by a month and is expected to be implemented from January 1, 2020.
Lawyer representing the petitioner said, “The shops have acquired space according to the demand. At present, supplies for a month are taken in two or three installments. The order to take the supplies together would create difficulty in terms of storage.