Masuma Bharmal Jariwala, Rajkot
The loud, overbearing Gujarat Fair Price Shops Association’s President and brother of PM Modi, Prahlad Modi, has yet again, in his clamorous style made another allegation on the Government. Modi, during his visit to Rajkot on Thursday, labelled the government as “Chor” while representing issues faced by the ration shops.
He met Rajkot District Collector Arun Mahesh Babu and represented the issues faced by the fair price shop owners in Rajkot.
Speaking to this reporter, Prahlad Modi asserted, “The issues faced by fair price shop owners across India are the same. In fact, the set-up itself is such that it becomes difficult for the owner of a fair price shop to survive on the compensation paid by the government.”
The “Government is chor because it has not compensated our 152 people who lost lives across Gujarat to Covid-19 despite approving Rs 25 lakh for each deceased. For the past two years, the government has not repaid the amount deposited towards pulses, sugar and other items. Many shopkeepers have not received their commission for long. Earlier when oil was made available through barrels, the shop owners had paid deposit for barrels. Now the barrel system has gone, but we are yet to get back the deposit amount,” Modi asserted.
The prime minister’s brother alleged that “During the pandemic, it was decided that the government will pay for the sanitizer expenses based on the cardholders a particular shop serves. But no payment has been released. This is why I say the government is Chor.”
Modi also reiterated his demand of paying salary to fair price shopkeepers. “Currently the commission paid is very low and one cannot meet the monthly expenses with it. Against one kilogram Rs 1.80 commission is paid and 60 paisa from this is deducted TDS.”
He added, “We have been repeatedly telling the government to change the policy and start paying salaries to the shopkeepers. In 2014, we wrote to the central government that it can save around Rs 30,000 crore if shopkeepers are salaried. But this is government never thinks. If the government can remove Article 370 and 35A, why can it not make policy changes in Fair Price Shops.”
When asked about the public perception that fair price shop owners were involved in cheating, Modi admitted, “The system itself is such that we are forced to do cheating. Fair price shop business can never be done with honesty.”