NASHIK: Now ration cardholders will also get hand wash, tea, coffee powder, soap, and such items. State Government has granted permission to ration shops for fair price shops in this regard on a ‘temporary’ basis. For years, there has been demand from the ration cardholders to make available the items including bathing soap and detergent soap, handwash, washing soda, shampoo, tea powder, coffee powder, etc. at ration shops.
However, as these goods are available in the open market at a different price depending upon the market situation and brands and quantity, the government had not granted permission to ration shops to keep these items. However, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic period since last year, those having ration cards again raised the demand.
Finally, now the State government’s Food, Civil Supplies, and Consumer Protection Department has issued a direction in this regard allowing fair price shops to keep these items.
Previously, the department had allowed some more goods available in the open market to be sold at ration shops, apart from food grains enlisted for the targeted public distribution system.
Tatoba Kolekar, Joint Secretary of the department, has issued a communique in this regard to all Deputy Commissioners (Supply) and all District Supply Officers in the State. As per the said communication, the permission has been granted ‘temporarily’ and changes will be made from time to time in the directions in accordance with changes in the public distribution system.
As far as commission to the fair price shop owners is concerned, it will be a matter between them and the distributor of respective companies. “There shall be no Government intervention in this regard,” the communication signed by Kolekar made it clear.
Sell at market price?
Although the government has allowed the sale of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) products like tea, coffee, soap, and shampoo, it is doubtful that ration cardholders will come to the ration shop to buy these essentials as the prices of these items will remain the same as the market price. At the same time, it seems that ration shopkeepers are also not keen on selling these items. Therefore, the question is whether this plan will succeed or remain on paper.