NASHIK: The Ration Shopkeepers’ Association has intensified its agitation against the state government and demanded financial assistance and insurance cover for ration shopkeepers who died due to COVID-19. “If the demand is not met, the distribution of foodgrains will be stopped from May 1,” it warned.
The union has alleged that the government has not responded to repeated demands for financial assistance and insurance cover for shopkeepers who died while distributing free foodgrains during the crisis. There are 55,000 ration grain shopkeepers in the state who have extended the government’s free grain scheme to ration card holders during the crisis. Ration shopkeepers took on the role of co-operatives in carrying out their duties, despite receiving no insurance cover from the government, no financial assistance to the licensees who died due to corona, it said.
Earlier the government had indicated its readiness to provide insurance cover to ration shopkeepers. But the proposal is still in the cold storage. The State Ration Shopkeepers’ Association, in a statement to the District Collector, said, Despite the demand for financial help, the government ignored it and hence since May 1, all the cheap grain shopkeepers in the state have decided not to distribute foodgrains.
Along with this demand, shopkeepers should be given the status of government employees or commission margin of Rs. 270 per quintal as proposed under the food programme. Ration shopkeepers should be given insurance cover and the families of the deceased licensees should be given government jobs and financial aid of Rs 50 lakh like the Rajasthan government, it demanded A reduction of 1.5 kg behind per per quintal should be taken into account while distributing grains, cheap grain shopkeepers should be given 50.590 kg kattas from the government grain godown.
Shopkeepers should be paid shop rent, electricity bill, stationery expenses, e-PoS machine should be replaced, remaining commission for free distribution of foodgrains should be paid. It has also demanded that the amount of haulage paid by the shopkeepers should be recovered from the payment of the transport contractor. The shopkeepers be ordered to distribute foodgrains by applying their own thumb impression instead of that of the ration card holders so that the communityinfection is avoided.