Mumbai: In a bid to provide much needed relief during the coronavirus lockdown, the Maharashtra government on Friday launched the distribution of 3 kg of wheat at Rs 8 per kg and 2 kg of rice at Rs 12 per kg for saffron colour ration card holders and those who are not covered under the Food Security Act for May and June.
Food and Civil Supplies Minister Chhagan Bhujbal told FPJ, “About 3.08 crore people will benefit from this move as the government will distribute 4.5 lakh metric tonnes of wheat and rice for May and June together. The government will spend nearly Rs 600 crore for the same.’’
FPJ wrote a fortnight ago about this even before the state cabinet had given its consent. Bhujbal said there are 71.54 lakh saffron ration cards across the state. He informed that he has asked the supply officers to take necessary precautions while distributing the food grains to avoid any complications and complaints.
“The supply officers are overburdened in the lockdown. Generally, they used to distribute around 3 lakh metric tonnes per month but so far they have distributed nearly 9 lakh metric tonnes. I expect the saffron ration card holders to benefit from the government move,’’ he noted.
Bhujbal said 62.39 lakh quintal food grains have been distributed to 1.51 crore ration card holders between April 1 and 23 through 52,425 fair price shops across the state. There are 7 crore beneficiaries who hold ration card under the National Food Security Scheme and Priority Family Beneficiary schemes.
Bhujbal informed that the department has taken stern action against ration shops for irregularities in the distribution of food grains. The department has registered offence against 39 shopkeepers and suspended 87 fair price shops. The department has suspended license of 48 shopkeepers so far.