Target is price rise, problem is rice price

Centre has allotted additional rice, wheat to State as a relief to the price hike

Target is price rise, problem is rice price

The Government is providing PDS rice at a subsidised rate of Rs 3 per kg to all BPL (below poverty line) ration card holders, who number 1.06 crore, in the State. Nearly 20 kg is being provided per family every month. The open market sale of the rice meant for the PDS is banned.

Why does the Government now wants to sell it in open market?  The Union government has recently allotted additional 1.18 lakh tonnes of rice and 36,000 tonnes of wheat to the State under the Open Market Sales (OMS) scheme, to provide relief to people affected due to price rise.

The Centre has provided the rice and wheat at Rs 16.15 per kg and Rs 12.66 per kg respectively to the State.

Price hiked a bit

The State, in turn, has decided to make use of the scheme and sell this rice and wheat at Rs 17 and Rs 16.70 per kg through Janata Bazaars and cooperative societies.

The selling price has been hiked a bit (85 paise on every kg of rice and Rs 4 on kg of wheat), to help Janata Bazaars and societies to cover the transportation cost, sources said. But the big question is: Will people, other than BPL, buy this rice?  

“Not many people use this rice (PDS rice) these days which is of low quality and not clean. People use more of ragi and wheat than consume rice of this quality,” a top official of the Department said.

Enquiries by this paper revealed that a better quality rice, IR-8 is available in the open market at Rs 18 per kg. This rice is long, bold and white. Also called ‘dosa’ rice, it is mainly used by restaurateurs for preparing dosa and idli.

No option left

If there is no takers for Rs 17 per kg rice, the official sources said, the department will have no option but to make use of it to distribute among BPL card holders. This means heavy loss to the department - up to Rs 14 per kg.

Officials have reportedly advised Minister H Halappa not to buy the rice under OMS scheme fearing loss.

Rs 10 kg rice for APL families

The State government has decided to offer 10 kg each of rice and wheat for Above Poverty Line (APL) families in urban areas from February 1. Rice and wheat will be available at fair price shops for APL families at Rs 16.5 and Rs 12 per kg respectively.

Minister for Food and Civil Supplies Hartal Halappa, on Saturday, told press persons that the fair price shops had a stock of 86,266 tonnes of rice and 8,144 tonnes of wheat. All APL families could avail of the benefit by producing their APL cards.

Rice, being provided for BPL (below poverty line) families at the rate of Rs 3 per kg would be provided for APL families at the rate of Rs 16.5 kg. “This measure to bring down price of rice in the open market”, the minister said.

The minister said every BPL card holder should get their due ration. No card holders should let go his ration go away. Those face any problem in getting ration can call the toll free to register the complaint - the toll free number - 1800-270-8990.

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