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Not enough fair price markets
August, 13th 2009

Taking a cue from the Delhi, Gujarat and Chandigarh governments, though some voluntary organisations and different associations linked to the wholesale foodgrains market have set up special stalls in the state capital selling Arhar dal at subsidised rates, the state government is yet to follow suit.

The Lucknow unit of the foodgrains wholesaler's association has set up six stalls in the state capital where every ration card holder is entitled to buy a kg of Arhar dal per month at a subsidised rate. But the small count of such stalls in Lucknow has ended up depriving the majority of the needy of the opportunity.

True that setting up six stalls to meet the demand of a population of more than 20 lakh people is no match. But at least it is better than nothing. We are not a non-government organisation (NGO) working on a mission but an association of businessmen and we don't claim to be social reformers, says a senior office-bearer of the association.

Our idea is to offer help in whatever small way that we can instead of sitting back and pointing fingers at those who are doing at least something for a cause, he says.

"We are looking into the issue but are yet to make any such decision. Actually, starting any such scheme is not difficult but the problem comes when you are required to sustain it for a long time or when complaints of irregularities start to pour in," says a senior officer of the civil supplies department in Lucknow. The government is surely and seriously considering expansion of the ambit of fair price shops across the state and provide subsidised foodgrains and other eatables through them, he insists.

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