Chennai: Faulty biometric scanners at PDS shops have led to commotion across the state of Tamil Nadu with consumers finding it tough to procure their ration material despite standing in queues for long hours.
In several PDS shops in the state, the biometric scanners turn faulty and heated arguments take place with the staff of these fair price shops. Many ration cardholders said that the government should intervene immediately to make the functioning of the ration shops smooth and to repair the faulty biometric meters.
Santhanavally, a resident of Chepauk in Chennai while speaking to IANS said: “At the PDS shop from where I buy my monthly ration, the biometric facility is always faulty leading to me coming back home empty-handed. If you are transferring your data into a technology-driven environment, then it is your responsibility to ensure a smooth functioning of that technology.”
She also said that in the ration shop, the biometric scanner does not work ten days a month resulting in large queues in the shop.
Usha Rani, a PDS cardholder from Kovilpatti Street, Ward 13, Erode while speaking to IANS said: “The biometric scanners in my PDS shop do not function properly and only on occasions it works. I went to the shop to buy my ration after completing my household chores at 11.30 a.m but realised that the biometric scanner was not verifying the impression of my thumb. So was the case with several other consumers who were standing in queue. I waited there for long but the staff said that server was not working and again I went the next day, still it was not working. This makes situation difficult for us as we are purely dependent on the ration being supplied through the PDS shops for our living.”
Even though this issue persists across the state, the salesmen refuse to provide ration through the old billing system which was working properly.
M.R. Gopalswamy, a resident of Kanniyakumari while speaking to IANS, said: “The ration shops should also have the billing system as a standby when the biometric scanners are not working. The staff refuses to provide us ration through the old billing system if the biometric scanners fail and every month the scanners work only for five to seven days. Heated arguments and occasionally physical confrontations also occur at the ration shops due to this biometric scanner. Government must immediately take steps to correct this.”
When contacted, a senior officer with the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies department told IANS: “Yes it is true that the biometric scanners don’t work properly but it is maintained by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) and we have communicated to them on the difficulties being faced at the PDS shops on this. The alternate arrangement of the old billing system may be tried as a standby but such a decision has not been taken at the higher level. We will correct these discrepancies soon.”