PUNE: Following the recent protest by various organisations against harassment of consumers at ration shops, the Food and Supplies Department will start a 12-hour helpline for consumers to raise their complaints against ration shops from Saturday.
On April 11, members of various organisations including Akhil Bhartiya Janwadi Mahila Sanghatna, Pune Jilha Kamgar Sanghatna (PJKS), Bandhkam Kamgar Sanghatna, Kantrati Kamgar Sanghatna and Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) staged a protest outside the district collector’s office demanding changes in the facilities provided by the Public Distribution System (PDS).
The members had demanded that the Aadhaar linking with PDS system should be removed and ‘Chavadi Vachan’ (public reading of names of people) should be carried out to check their category of ration card. Speaking about the helpline number, Raghunath Pote, Food Supply Officer said that the Food and Supplies Department has decided that an eligible consumer will not be denied ration at fair price shops (FPS).
“There were issues of senior citizens’ fingerprints not matching at FPS and hence, some senior citizens faced problems while procuring ration. However, we have asked our food inspectors to authorise such transactions through their fingerprints.
There were also complaints of ill-treatment of consumers at FPS and so we decided to go ahead with the helpline number (7620343324),” added Pote. The department has also directed FPS owners to display name and phone number of zonal officers at FPS so that consumers can complain at the number. Similarly, a consumer can also furnish his name, FPS details, phone number and complaint at the helpline number and officials of the department will provide necessary help to the consumer. “Under no circumstances, an eligible consumer will be turned away from FPS,” added Pote.
Consumers availing ration from fair price shops can call at helpline number 7620343324 in case they face any issue at the shop.