Why doesn’t Takatpur have a ration shop?

In Takatpur village of Madhya Pradesh, residents are crying out for the construction of a ration shop. Residents have to walk for 4 kilometres — a difficult terrain of overflowing canals and waterlogged fields, there is no road. VV-PACS Community Correspondent Ramlal Baiga reports from Karkeli Block of Umaria district.

CALL TO ACTION: You can call the Secretary of Takatpur village from Karkeli Block of Umaria district in Madhya Pradesh, on +91-9329781073, and push for the allocation of a ration shop to the village so that the residents do not have to go through such hardships to get daily supplies.

Approximately, Takatpur village has a population of 850; and is home to about 125 families, which are deemed Below Poverty Line by the Government of India. Public Distribution System (PDS), established under Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution, is assigned the task of distributing subsidized food and non-food items to India's poor.

According to the government data, Madhya Pradesh has about 20,000 Fair Price Shops (FPS), or ration shops. A pretty number to look at in the tabulated list on the website of Press Information Bureau. Residents of Takatpur, though, have to walk to another village for reaching one. The shop in Khebakhur village, being the only one around, is usually clamoured with a flock of customers — sitting, waiting. It takes about a day to get the ration, costing worth a day’s work.

Complications with FPS allocation aren’t unique to Takatpur, or Madhya Pradesh. These shops operate under the joint authority of Central Government and State Governments. While the Central Government is responsible for procurement, allocation and transportation of food grains, the operational responsibility for lifting and distributing falls on the States.

However, this process has been anything but efficient. Suppliers often replace the stock received from Food Corporation of India (FCI) with poor quality grains and Fair Price Shop owners have been frequently accused of selling grains in the open market. Also, as far as ration cardholders are concerned, there are no clear criteria to distinguish families living below the poverty line (BPL) and families above it. The ambiguity allows for unaccounted distribution of the subsidised food products — massive leakage before it reaches the intended needful mass.

Most often, the people for whom the scheme was intended; don’t get the benefits and the middlemen cash-in. It is the state’s responsibility to allocate the Fair Price Shops — in a manner that they’d be accessible to everyone, and to ascertain their efficiency after allocation. It shouldn’t come as a surprise after CC Ramlal Baiga’s report, that there is a surprising lack of oversight on the operating of it all.

It is up to the Rural Development Department of the State Government to set-up a ration shop in Takatpur. CC Ramlal is determined to follow the request with the Regional Secretary and make sure that the community gets a ration shop. Watch this space for the Impact video.

 

This is a PACS-VV video. The Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) Programme and Video Volunteers have come together to create the Community Correspondents Network. The videos created by the network bring out voices from the margins, providing communications skills to marginalised individuals and advocacy tools to community-based organisations.

 

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