The financial hardships faced by the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation (Supplyco) will have no impact on the government’s market intervention efforts planned for the Onam season, Food and Civil Supplies Minister G.R. Anil has said.
Addressing a press conference here on Friday, he added that steps had been adopted to ensure adequate supply of essential commodities in Supplyco outlets. He, however, refused to comment on whether the government intended to distribute Onam kits this year.
The Onam fairs organised by Supplyco would be held from August 18 to 28 this year. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan would formally inaugurate the fair at the Putharikandam grounds here on August 18. The district, constituency, and taluk-level fairs would be launched on August 19 and 23 respectively.
Besides offering various items at subsidised rates, discounts ranging from 5 to 50% would be provided for the other products. Supplyco was targeting a sales revenue of ₹250 crore during the festive season, Mr. Anil said adding that efforts were on to stock essential items in sufficient quantities by August 10.
Five new Sabari products, viz., Sabari Matta rice, Andhra Jaya rice, Sabari Atta (wheat flour), puttu powder, and appam powder, would be launched at prices nearly ₹5 cheaper than other brands in the open market.
Refuting reports that claimed several Supplyco stores were running short of stock, the Minister said about 45 lakh customers purchased goods from such outlets every month. Notably, Supplyco’s average monthly sales had increased from ₹250-252 crore in 2022 to ₹270 crore last year. He, however, admitted that there had been shortage of certain goods due to the floods in northern States.
The cash-strapped agency was incurring a burden of over ₹45 crore every month by providing subsidies for essential commodities. It would be shouldering an additional subsidy burden of ₹100 crore during the Onam fairs. The Finance department had sanctioned ₹250 crore to Supplyco for market intervention and paddy procurement thus far.
During the Onam season, the rice allocation through ration outlets would comprise 70% of chambavari (for southern districts) or boiled rice (for northern districts), and 30% of raw rice. Besides, ration card holders from non-priority groups would receive additional rice allocation.
White card holders (non-priority non-subsidy category) would receive 5 kg rice at a rate of ₹10.90 (in addition to the existing allocation of 2 kg). Blue card holders (non-priority subsidy category) would receive additional allocation of 5 kg at a rate of ₹10.90. Antodaya Anna Yojana (yellow) card holders would receive half-litre of kerosene in addition to the allocation of half-litre they receive every three months.
Ration outlets would function on August 27 and 28 (Uthradam day) and remain closed from August 29 to 31.