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Ration shops in Mumbai to be linked with biometric system

Ration shops

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has decided to link all ration shops in Mumbai and suburban Thane district with a biometric system by November with a view to check irregularities in the public distribution system (PDS).

A senior official of State Food and Civil Supplies department said the linking will be done in a phased manner where all ration shops in Mumbai and Kalyan-Dombivali region will be linked by Diwali, which falls in November this year, and thereafter the government will shift focus on Nagpur-Pune and Aurangabad districts.

“Government is keen on curbing illegal distribution of food grains by rationing shops and has even alloted Rs 100 crore in the budget for this purpose. There are around 3,000 rationing shops in Mumbai and about 1,000 in Thane that will be linked to the biometric system,” the official said.

Five companies have shown interest in the proposal so far and demonstrations are being given to department officials, he added.

“Once the officials finalise the draft proposals, a final presentation will then be given to Food and Civil Supplies minister Girish Bapat and he will take a final call on the company,” he said.

The government is keen on providing ration to the needy and check the use of fake cards to buy food grains.

“Many a times, people are also cheated by rationing shops where they receive less than the actual amount that the customer pays for. Once the biometric system is in place, one will only need to touch his thumb on a device and officials at Mantralaya (state secretariat) will get all the details of the amount of food grains given to the buyer,” he said.

Officials at Mantralaya will periodically check the details of rationing shops and food grains being supplied by them, the official said, adding in that manner all anomalies in the system will be eliminated.

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