NASHIK: As many as 55,000 shopkeepers in the state have gone on strike demanding permission to distribute ration without thumb impression and seeking insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh in the crisis. A cabinet meeting will be held today (May 5) to break the deadlock and arrive at a consensus over the demands. Meanwhile, the strike has halted the distribution of five kg of free foodgrains for May and June under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, with the worst hit being the poor.
55,000 cheap grain shopkeepers in the state have extended the government’s free grain scheme to ration cardholders during the Corona crisis. The union has alleged that the government has not responded to their repeated demands for financial assistance and insurance cover for shopkeepers who died while distributing free foodgrains 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 cold storage.
A consensus over their demands is likely to arrive in today’s cabinet meeting. The shopkeepers are also seeking the status of government employees or a commission margin of Rs. 270 per quintal as proposed under the food program. Besides the insurance cover, they are seeking government jobs to the legal heir of the deceased licensees.