GUWAHATI, April 4 - There is no shortage of essential food items in Assam and as normalcy has been restored in the supply chain, there is no reason for the people to worry, said Additional Chief Secretary, Food and Civil Supplies S Abbasi. He also said that prices of some items showed marginal increase in the open market because the prices in the source of procurement have increased.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Abbasi said the Food Corporation of India (FCI) is also pushing in additional amounts of rice and �there is no reason to worry.�
He revealed that for distribution through the Public Distribution System (PDS), the stock as on April 1 was around 3.20 lakh metric tonnes (MT) against the monthly requirement of around 1.35 lakh MT. He said the FCI is also sending three lakh MT per month, which is much higher than the requirement and that is why, there is no cause of worry for the State.
Abbasi said the government is keeping a close watch on the open market stock of all the essential items and so far, there is no shortage. He said according to an estimate, the rice available in the open market would be enough to last 14 days. Similarly, the State has enough stock of other essential items, including dal, sugar, salt, edible oil, etc.
He revealed that after initial problems on the first few days of the lockdown, the supply chain has been restored and no part of the State would face shortage. He said instructions have been issued to all the district authorities and police to ensure that the movement of the vehicles carrying essential items is not affected.
He said initially there was shortage of labourers to unload goods from trains, but the problem has been sorted out. �We even brought labourers from the villages and the process of unloading goods from the trains is now going on smoothly,� he added.
The additional chief secretary said steps have been taken to ensure that the godowns of the private parties remain operational during the lockdown period and the government is daily monitoring the situation.
Replying to a question about price rise, he said steps have taken in this regard and the food and civil supplies department is in constant touch with the traders. He said there has been marginal increase in prices of some items because of price rise at source.
�We check the prices of items at source and in the markets in the State. We normally allow around 10 per cent difference, which includes transport and handling, and profit. If any trader charges higher than that action will be taken,� he asserted.