Over 84 paddy procurement centres have been opened in Thanjavur and Thiruvarur districts for the ongoing kharif season, according to an official press release.

More such centres will be opened to support the farmers. As of now 1,367 tonnes of paddy has been procured, said the release quoting the Food Minister R. Kamaraj’s address at a zonal managers’ meet to review the operations of the public distribution system.

Till paddy procurement for the ‘samba’ (long-term paddy crop) starts in three months, officials have to ensure that adequate stocks of rice are available under the PDS from the Food Corporation of India, suggested the Minister.

Every month over 1.85 lakh families get about 3.10 lakh tonnes of rice free through the system. Tamil Nadu is unique in supplying free rice to beneficiaries. In addition, essential commodities such as pulses, sugar, wheat and fortified palm oil are sold at subsidised rates through 33,456 outlets.

This month, as of November 19, over 2.85 lakh tonnes of rice have been supplied. In addition, 9.134 tonnes of toor dhal out of the monthly allocation of 13.91 tonnes; and 9,129 tonnes of urad dhal out of the allocation of 10.430 tonnes have been supplied. The balance will be moved by November 25.

Also, palm oil imported by the Central Public Sector Units is also coming in. A ship carry carrying 6,000 tonnes (70 lakh packets) of oil has reached the Chennai Port and another vessel carrying 7,500 tonnes (83 lakh packets) of oil will reach the port this week. Another ship carrying 4,000 tonnes of oil (45 lakh packets) will reach Tuticorin port in a couple of days.

As of November 18, over 44.20 lakh packets of fortified palm oil has been distributed to the family card holders, the release said.

Tamil Nadu’s food subsidy bill is about Rs 4,900 crore annually and it also operates a Rs 50 crore fund as a market intervention to control spiralling increase of prices of essential commodities.

(This article was published on November 22, 2012)
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