Govt mulling to close privately held CAPD fair price shops

JAMMU: In a move which would leave hundreds of youth jobless in Jammu and Kashmir, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD) Department is intending to close all the fair price shops (ration depots) run by the private dealers in the state, highly placed sources told Kashmir Reader.
The sources said that CAPD Department has taken the decision to close the fair price shops issued to unemployed youth for the distribution of subsidized rice and other items on commission basis, however, as the elections are nearing the CAPD Ministry is afraid of announcement and implementation of the decision fearing the backlash form the public.
They said authorities have already stopped allocation of any new fair price shops.
A former National Conference MLC, BL Bhat corroborating the sources said, CAPD Minister Choudhary Ramzan refused to approve an additional ration depot in Jagti Township in Nagrota area here on the formers request, saying there is no question of issuing a new depot when they are going to close all the privately run ration depots.
“The minister however told us that the government has taken the decision to close all the CAPD fair price shops run by private persons,” the minister, according to Bhat told them.
“CAPD minister told me that once the elections come to an end government will be closing all these ration depots, as a final decision in this regard has been already taken. But they cannot go for it before the elections, as the move will land them in trouble,” he said.
Bhat, however, condemned the move and said that it will create more unemployment in the state.
“We are already facing the challenge of unemployment here. If government goes for any such decision it will only add to the problem. Government should either provide all the private dealers some sort of employment security and then go for it,” Bhat said.
However, CAPD Minister, Choudhary Ramzan, when contacted, said that he couldn’t comment on the issue. “Yes we have some plans like that but at this point of time I cannot comment on it,” he told Kashmir Reader.
Jammu and Kashmir government few years back, issued fair price shops to unemployed youth for prompt delivery of subsidized rationed supplies and lowering the service cost, as a private distributor will get a small commission on the distribution instead of a full monthly salary.