Traders warned against overpricing medical items

Govt. will not stop at issuing notices and collecting fines, says Anil

Food and Civil Supplies Minister G.R. Anil has promised action against overpricing of masks, hand sanitisers, PPE kits, pulse oximeters and other articles necessary for COVID-19 prevention and treatment.

Speaking at a meet-the-press programme organised by the Kesari Memorial Journalists’ Trust here on Thursday, Mr. Anil said the Civil Supplies and the Legal Metrology Departments were set to launch joint inspections on the basis of complaints of customers being fleeced by commercial establishments.

“Traders must adhere to the rates fixed by the government. Stringent measures will be adopted against those flouting norms. The government will not stop at issuing notices and collecting fines,” said Mr. Anil, the Minister in charge of Legal Metrology.

The Minister, who has been interacting with the public lately through a phone-in programme, said there had been numerous requests for BPL (below the poverty line) or priority ration cards.

‘Forego ration cards’

Considering the State’s limitations in issuing such cards, the government hoped to persuade ‘ineligible’ priority card-holders to forego the benefit. “I appeal to those who do not require such ration benefits to surrender their priority cards for the sake of economically disadvantaged families. The government will not resort to any legal measures against ineligible card holders,” he said.

According to official statistics, there are 90.45 lakh ration card holders in the State. They include 5.94 lakh Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) beneficiaries (yellow card), 33.08 lakh priority card holders (pink), 24.97 lakh non-priority card holders receiving State subsidy (blue) and 26.25 lakh (white) card holders belonging to general non-priority category.

On free kits

Mr. Anil exhorted those not requiring the free ration kits to convey the same in writing at their nearest ration outlet. This would enable the government to provide essential supplies to many who have not been receiving them owing to the prevailing shortage.

Following complaints of delay in paddy procurement in Kuttanad, the Minister said steps would be taken to prevent paddy from being destroyed in the rain.

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