All Kerala Retail Ration Dealers Association Plan Strike From November 1

Published on: 28 Sep, 2015
Published under: General Kerala News

The Kerala Retail Ration Dealers Association is preparing for an agitation against the government from November 1 to highlight their demands including clearance of arrears for distribution of free ration.

Association president C. Surendran and general secretary P. Pushpangada Kurup told a press conference here on Friday that the government owed over Rs.10 crore to ration dealers across the State as compensation for distribution of free ration for victims of accidents and natural calamities. Despite repeated assurances the government has failed to disburse the amount, they said. The association is planning a hunger strike in front of the Secretariat on November 1 to focus attention on their demands.

The association leaders urged the Union government to revise the new norms to identify BPL (Below Poverty Line) families. Terming the norms as a move to cut the number of card holders, they said a large number of eligible families in Kerala would find themselves out of the BPL list. The high living standards in the State would prove to have a negative impact on the people, they observed.

Mr. Surendran urged the Centre to increase the allotment of kerosene for the State and withdraw from the plan to limit kerosene supply to BPL families. He said the poor quality of rice supplied by the Food Corporation of India was responsible for the low off-take from ration shops.

The association is demanding ESI benefits for all ration dealers in the State. It has also called for an increase in the commission for dealers. The existing rate of commission at Rs.25.50 per quintal was fixed five years back. The amount is hardly sufficient to cover the labour charges. Despite an assurance from the Minister on the floor of the assembly, the government has not revised the commission, Mr. Surendran said.

The association urged the government to install electronic weighing machines at wholesale outlets for grain before insisting on the same for ration shops. It also called on the Centre to ensure adequate allotment of food grains for Kerala through the FCI.

The seventh State conference of the association will be held in Thiruvananthapuram on December 9 and 10.

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