Come July,the Bihar government will be the first state to deliver ration to the doorsteps of 1.45 crore BPL families.
The state government,which introduced ration coupons in 2007 and made it bar-coded last year to avoid duplicity,will have a mix of conventional methods and modern technology to further cut down corruption in PDS.
Over 45,000 PDS dealers will no longer be allowed to fetch wheat and rice from 307 State Food Corporation godowns. Instead,the government will hire vehicles to deliver grains to PDS shops. Mikes,fitted atop these vehicles,will announce arrivals of grains mentioning its quantity,said state Food and Civil Supplies Minister Shyam Rajak.
Unscrupulous dealers,at times with connivance with our marketing officers,find ways to divert grains to open market,where it is hoarded or immediately sold at market price, he said.
Rajak said the department would need three months to start doorstep delivery. While we have already been using technology to good effect by having bar-coded coupons,announcement through mikes about grains arrival will put an end to dealers excuses of grains not being given by the government on time or in lesser quantity, he added.
Rajak said the vigilance department has been looking into PDS leakage in several districts. Of late,15,000 sacks of wheat and rice have been diverted in East Champaran. At least 15 per cent grains meant for BPL families reach the open market, he said.
A BPL family gets 10 kg wheat and 15 kg rice every month. An antyoday family (25,100 such families in Bihar) gets 21 kg rice and 14 kg wheat. Rajak said a godown will cater to two blocks on an average. The state has 534 blocks. Doorstep delivery will not cost the government any extra fund. Earlier,we used to hire vehicles for each district. Now,it will be hired for a godown, he said,adding that once grains leave the godowns,respective vigilance committee will get SMS alerts.
He said the vigilance committees would help ensure dealers distribute ration to all BPL families as soon as grains arrive. He added that a government official will accompany each vehicle.