Kerala to begin distribution of free ration from April 1

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Only five persons will be allowed at a time in a retail ration outlet in keeping with the social distancing norms, says Minister for Food and Civil Supplies P. Thilothaman

Distribution of free ration in Kerala will commence on April 1 through the 14,250 retail outlets and be completed by April 20, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies P. Thilothaman has said.

He told reporters here on Monday that the grain distribution for Antyodaya Anna Yojana and Priority Household card holders would take place till noon and others in the afternoon. Only five persons would be allowed at a time in a retail ration outlet in keeping with the social distancing norms. Ward members of local bodies and volunteers in each locale would help in preventing crowds. Each dealer could introduce a token system to avoid card-holders from gathering in huge numbers, he said.

The help volunteers and ward members could be sought for door delivery of grains for the elderly and bed-ridden who would not be able to reach the retail outlets. Distribution of additional entitlements would begin after April 20, he said.

Families that did not have cards would get grains if an elder member of the family submitted an affidavit to the dealer concerned. The affidavit should comprise the Aadhar number and phone number of the family members. The facility had been limited strictly to those who did not have cards. A fine amounting to three times the market price of the grains would be levied from those submitting false affidavits.

Free kits

The Food and Civil Supplies Department and the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation are also preparing the free kits to be distributed in the State. Income tax payers, the high income group as well as others who have voluntarily come forward to relinquish it have been exempted from the scheme.

The State had sufficient stock to distribute grains for all sections for three months.

The Minister said that he suspected a conspiracy behind the mobilisation of migrant workers at Payippad in Kottayam on Sunday afternoon. The government was probing the issue, he said.

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