SRINAGAR With public distribution discontinued from government ration-depots for last several months, the shortage of sugar has taken a toll on common people, especially during the month of Ramazan.
The demand of sugar during the month of Ramazan increases manifold as it is used as an ingredient during Iftaar and Sehri preparations..
Compared to the sugar which used to be distributed to people on subsidized prices by the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD) department, the hefty retail market prices are proving to be a burden on the pocket of common man.
Consumers from various parts of the Valley complained that they were facing severe inconvenience due to abrupt discontinuation of public distribution of sugar. Hilal Ahmad Bhat, an inhabitant of Palpora Sonwar said ration card holders in the area after visiting the supplies depot had to return disappointed.
The problems being faced by people from the lower economic strata are unimaginable. There are people in our locality who want to prepare some specialties but cannot afford to do in absence of subsidized sugar, Bhat said.
Prior to Ramazan divisional administration and CAPD used to conduct review meetings to ensure that there is adequate supply of essentials such as sugar, flour etc. However, these meetings which also used to take place at the district level have not taken into consideration the impact of sugars distribution being discontinued.
As per sources the import bill for sugar to the state government had of late witnessed a steep rise after prices of this commodity increased sharply in the bulk market and mandis outside the Valley.
Jammu and Kashmir for last several years has been procuring sugar from sugar firms based in Maharashtra but has been at loggerheads with these companies due to high prices charged by them. Last year also public distribution of sugar was stopped for a long time after a Maharashtra-based sugar firm pulled out of the contract with the state government due to differences over prices.
Director Consumer and Public Distribution Department Muhammad Qasim Wani, said decision of the state government to stop distribution of sugar has happened in the past as well. Wani said sugar as a commodity is not in the notified list of essentials to be distributed by the CAPD.
Sugar was being given in addition to other items and now government has stopped its distribution due to some financial reasons, Wani said. However, Wani said CAPD has a limited stock of sugar left and if government takes a decision, it will be distributed to priority households before Eid-ul-Fitr. We intend to at least provide 1 kg to each such household, he said. (KNO)