The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Governor firm on PDS sugar
- More outlets across state promised

Jamshedpur, Aug. 30: Governor K. Sankaranarayanan today iterated that sugar would be made available through all PDS outlets in Jharkhand in a determined move aimed at undoing a nearly seven-year-old anomaly when the state, then newly carved out of Bihar, gradually abandoned picking up stocks due to high transportation costs leading to exorbitant prices.

Expressing surprise over the state of affairs in Jharkhand, the governor conceded that “not a single tea-spoon of sugar had reached the people through PDS shops” ever since the state was bifurcated from Bihar.

The governor, who was in Jamshedpur today to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of a water project, was informed of the anomaly last month during his first meeting with deputy commissioners on July 28.

Sankaranarayanan was aghast — the minister concerned would have been removed if it was Kerala, he reportedly commented — and set a deadline of August 17 to begin selling sugar at PDS outlets.

According a district supply officer, the high cost for transporting sugar from Maharashtra and UP led the state government to virtually abandon lifting sugar allotted to it under the central pool.

During the time, the price of sugar at PDS shops in Jharkhand rose to Rs 29 per kg, higher than the market rate. With the state lifting reduced quantity every year, the Centre also cut back the state’s sugar quota. “Now, we are incurring less cost as sugar is being transported from Bihar,” he pointed out.

Today, sugar had reached a number of shops and was being distributed at Rs 13.50 per kg. The State Food Corporation has already procured 1,551 quintal from Motihari in Bihar.

The governor announced that distribution of sugar for below poverty line and Antodaya card holders of East Singhbhum would start from tomorrow. Each family would get a monthly quota of 1.12kg at Rs 13.50 per kg.

Addressing a gathering at Mango, he said more PDS shops and Suvidha Kendras would be opened in the near future. “We have planned to allot 12,000 new PDS outlets, which will be run by women self-help groups. The outlets will be allotted within a month to ensure zero corruption. The number of Suvidha Kendras will be increased to 1,000.”

The Suvidha Kendras, opened in the state on August 19 as a measure to control prices, sell foodgrain, onion and potato at a reasonable prices.

In Jamshedpur, the district administration was running a dozen such shops in association with KUBS and Jamshedpur Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Today, in view of increased prices of potato in the open market, the district administration revised rates of potato to Rs 15 per kg at all Suvidha Kendras in the steel city.

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