Fair price shop owners in Gujarat have gone on an indefinite strike, affecting almost 17,000 such shops that cater to millions of people in the economically weaker category.
The owners have a number of issues, including minimum monthly commission, that has led to the strike.
The All Gujarat Fair Price Shop Owners’ Federation has been demanding that the government provide at least Rs 20,000 commission per month to each shop owner for selling foodgrains through the public distribution system.
The federation has also sought delivery of foodgrains at shops in the beginning of the month and compensation for owners for the loss of one kilogram of grains for every 100 kg of sale, the association’s chief said.
The association official said, “We have given a call for an indefinite strike as our demands were not met despite assurances given by the government several times in the past. If an amicable solution is not reached, our strike will continue.”
Officials concerned have invited key members of the federation for a meeting in Gandhinagar. As per the rates fixed by the government, each FPS owner will get a commission of Rs 150 for the sale of 100 kg of foodgrains to ration cardholders.
Generally, a shop owner with 400 or more cardholders under him can make Rs 20,000 per month, while those who serve less than 400 cardholders find it difficult to earn that much every month.
At least 17,000 FPS owners in Gujarat, nearly 40 per cent, fall under the second category and they are finding it difficult to survive due to less income, sources said.
“Hence, we have been demanding that the government ensure that we get a minimum monthly commission of Rs 20,000. If the monthly earning goes below that amount, the government should pay the difference to the shop owner. If a shop owner is earning Rs 15,000, the government should pay the remaining Rs 5,000,” the official said.