The state government, however, warned that it will hand over PDS shops to Kudumbashree and other self-help groups if the strike continues.

Kerala ration shop dealers go on indefinite strike ask govt to meet demands
news Strike Monday, November 06, 2017 - 16:10

Ration shop dealers across Kerala have decided to go on an indefinite strike from Monday, alleging that the state government has failed to meet their demands. The LDF government, however, hit back stating that if the strike continues, the state will hand over the PDS shops to Kudumbashree, the all-women self-help group.

Among the demands raised by ration shop dealers are:

Implement the improvised remuneration package introduced by the CM in May 2017

E-POS machines should be made available to all the ration dealers and computerization of ration outlets

Ensure the stock in ration outlets are replenished before the ration card holders are alerted through SMSs.

Deserving ration card holders should be included in priority list

All the ration dealers should be made available under only one license

Exclude ration dealers from income tax.

Andex, a ration dealer said, “We don’t have a fixed salary, we are paid on the basis of a commission amount fixed by the government. This changes with the quantity of supply distributed. Many times this amount is not enough for us to pay rent for the ration shops. We even find it difficult to pay the electricity bill for the ration shops.”

Speaking to the media, T Muhamad Ali, All Kerala Ration Retail Dealers Association said, “When the CM announced the Rs 16,000 remuneration package, though a meagre amount, we agreed. He promised the package will be passed in July. It’s been five months now and there is no action from the government.”

Nearly 14,328 ration outlets in Kerala have downed shutters on Monday.  However, the state government refuses to budge and warned that it would hand over the running of PDS shops to Kudumbashree and Women Self-Help Groups, if the strike continues. The government also stated that a temporary license will be issued to the self-help groups.

A Kudumbashree official said that, “We have received the news from papers today. We have not received any official communication from the government so far. If the project is offered to us, we will take it up happily as it will come as a great help for the self-help groups.”

According to the National Food Security Act, the government is bound to give compensation to the card holders in the priority list in case of any disruption in the ration distribution. 46% of the total food grains distribution goes to those in the ration priority list, reports Mathrubhumi.

Though the ration dealers started the indefinite strike on Monday, they had stopped receiving ration grains and other stock from government agencies from November 1. The government had then warned that the license of dealers who deny stock will be cancelled. 


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