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e-Pos mission on right track

Hyderabad: Residents of Telangana will soon be able to buy ration from anywhere in the State, regardless of where they live. The concept of the Civil Supplies Department is to ensure complete transparency through computerisation of fair-price ration shops, Civil Supplies Commissioner CV Anand told Telangana Today. Out of the 16,000 shops in the State, 11,200 have already been given electronic point of sale (e-Pos) machines, which use Wi-Fi to record all transactions and are completely centralised, eliminating any scope for corruption by dealers and officials. Another 2,700 shops will be equipped with the machines shortly, while all 16,000 shops are set to receive the e-Pos machines by the first week of December.

The e-Pos machines are self-sufficient and can perform all store checkout counter tasks. Since the machines update all records online to the Civil Supplies department, dealers cannot whisk away any ration, as some used to before. “Our vision is to make ‘anywhere ration’ possible and easy to implement. Buyers should not need to go to only one particular shop for their ration needs, as was the case till now, because of manual recording of sales and procurement. From here on, all procurement and sales details, including backlog, will be updated live, thanks to the computerisation. This means that the practice of selling away leftover ration stock by middlemen will effectively be history,” Anand said, adding that most dealers and fair-price ration beneficiaries were happy with the on-going programme and were thanking the department for wiping out the space for middlemen and their corrupt ways.

The delay in implementing the programme was due to technical glitches, he said. “The machines were earlier not connecting to Wi-Fi properly. Thankfully, the manufacturer, Oasis, was able to fix the problem and the new machines being procured are going online with ease. Several machines had to be returned to the manufacturer, which they gave back after fixing the loopholes. There was no delay from our side. We are employing enough staff to supervise efficient implementation of the programme,” he said. All e-Pos machines are linked with biometric Aadhaar enabled payment system (AEPS) and can record the weighing scale measurements directly without any need of human intervention.

Some dealers unhappy with e-Pos

While the Civil Supplies department is working to provide a hassle-free experience for fair-price ration shop beneficiaries, some dealers are unhappy with the computerisation programme, according to Civil Supplies Commissioner CV Anand. “With e-Pos, the scope for any corruption on part of the dealers as well as government officials has been eliminated. While this has been appreciated by several officials, dealers and beneficiaries, some dealers are trying to cause difficulties. We have received about a hundred machines that ration dealers said were given to them in damaged condition, but it is clear that the machines were damaged by them, in their attempt to escape transparency,” he said.

“We can see through their trick, and we are ensuring that all fair-price shops use e-Pos machines only, whether or not the dealers, suppliers and officials like it. On the other hand, the dealers are also very unhappy about the non-increase of their commission as per NFSA Act from 20 paise to 70 paise per kg,” he said. “Every large-scale programme will have to overcome some speed-breakers. However, we are right on track and are confident of carrying out the computerised and transparent anywhere ration programme across the entire State,” Anand added.

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