The fair price shop owners in the state and members of the All India Fair Price Shop Dealers’ Federation have expressed dissatisfaction over the union budget. The ration shop dealers lamenting over the fund allocation of rupees 11,569,88 crores for Public Distribution System, said that the amount was ‘inadequate and farcical.’

“The nominal increase from rupees 1,08,688 crores to rupees 11,569,88 crores, is evidently insufficient,” claimed Mr Biswambhar Basu, general secretary of the federation. “None of our major demands like food for, increase in margins, supple of edible oils, pulses, sugar and iodised salt are likely to be met with such a curtailed budgetary allocation for the PDS,” he added. The fair price shop dealers have also highlighted and rued about the disparity between prices of edible oil and alcohol.

“It is ironical that the union finance minister has considered it prudent to bring down the prices of alcohol and increase the prices of edible oil. Also, the reduction budgetary provisions for purchase of food grains from farmers are certain to affect the procurement from the cultivators adversely. The members of the association have expressed apprehensions over the ‘conspicuous silence’ on supply of Kerosene oil to the dealers. “The budget offers nothing to the PDS but enables bigger avenues for the open market traders,” said Basu. The members of the federation are planning to start their agitation on various demands from 1 March.