Thiruvananthapuram: A section of ration shops in Kerala will offer additional services by May 20.
Of more than 14,000 ration stores (public distribution points) in the state, owners of approximately 800 stores with adequate space and other facilities have expressed willingness to offer additional services to the public.
Civilian Food and Supply Minister GR Anil will chair a final review meeting in this regard this week.
The main proposal is to provide banking services through EPoS (Electronic Point of Sale) machines. Four banks have expressed interest in joining the project. Existing ration cards would need to be chipped – as in ATM cards – to roll out the project.
Other services offered include facilities to pay electricity and water bills, in addition to providing Maveli Store-type groceries in rural areas where Supplyco does not have such outlets.
Minister Anil told Manorama that the proposed facilities would be extended to 1,000 ration stores within a year.
The mobile ration store will be extended to another 36 tribal hamlets. The state-level inauguration of the facility was held Thursday in the Assembly District of Parassala. The mobile ration store will serve the hamlets of Amboori.
The facility will be extended to the tribal hamlets of Aralam, Kannur on April 28. The minister said the government had sought the support of MPs to organize vehicles for the project.
The government decided to launch mobile ration shops after finding that several AAY (yellow) cardholders were having difficulty reaching the ration points.