Thiruvananthapuram: Ration cardholders will soon be able to buy rations from any fair price shop in Kerala.
The new service will be on the lines of mobile phone number portability, where a customer can keep the number but change the telecom service provider.
In this case, one can retain his or her card at the mother ration shop but buy food grains from other fair price shops. A mobile application is being readied in this regard.
Aimed at helping migrant workers, the central government too has initiated measures through which ration can be bought from any fair price shop in the country.
The E-POS (electronic point of sale) machines at ration shops will have the facility to port ration card info. The installing of the machines will begin by the end of the month and continue until February next year.
If the consumer finds the food grains or service of his ration shop is not up to the mark, he or she can choose another fair price shop. This will also generate healthy competition among shop owners.
Ration shops are registered within taluks. Cards can be changed to any fair price shop within the taluk. If someone is shifting residence or work to another taluk, relevant information can be submitted through the mobile app. If the ration card is shifted to another shop, the mother fair price shop will see a corresponding deduction in stocks it receives.
Food and civil supplies minister P Thilothaman has ordered strict action against shops that have introduced a handling charge of Re 1 per kilogram. The charge can be levied only when E-POS machines are installed. The machine installation is not even completed its tender stage. But most shops have already started charging the fee.