Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 29 March 2023 1.18 PM IST

The E-POS mystery in Ration shops


The ration distribution in Kerala is experiencing repeated halts. G R Anil, the minister of food and civil supplies spouted strong words of criticism over this issue. The minister pointed out the flaws as a well-tailored move from devious minds. The statements never attracted that kind of awe or shock from the media or public, but these are something to be deliberated carefully.

The E-POS system introduced to transcend the rationing system to high tech has been subjected to repeated technical glitches over time. Initially, the fault was diagnosed as the server problem that did the stoppage of work. Faults were rectified with ease but still, the E-POS machine showed no obeisance to work. Interestingly, it was claimed that the error reached the summit mostly during rush hours at the ration shops. People eligible for ration flood to the shop only to be informed about the glitches in E-POS and to return empty-handed. The current incidents don't elicit a shock since the ration distribution in Kerala was always mired in shady dealings of some sort. The E-POS was introduced as an alternative to pitstop all the illegal deeds happening. But now, the same computerized E-POS is prone to glitches repeatedly. This is an ominous sign of some devious minds at play and makes true the criticism raised by the food minister.

The minister has also raised these allegations inside the assembly. But strikingly enough, the same minister is delaying an investigation into this issue, which evaded the eyes of the opposition. Lakhs of people depend on ration distribution to meet their appetites. The ration is a vital need for the people and the government should not just raise criticism but act without mincing words. In Kerala, there are 90 lakh ration card owners and a large 10000 and more ration shops for distribution. The shop owners' argument of the sudden rush to be responsible for E-POS failure is dubious in all respects. The E-POS machines are programmed in a way to handle any surge of crowds. So, the shopkeepers and the master brains behind these moves are trying their best to divert the issue from the public light. The minister and the government, as dutiful as they are, should call for an immediate vigilance investigation into this issue. Assistance from IT experts will be a bonus.

Meanwhile, the ration shops in Kerala are mostly shut these days. In the veil of E-POS damage, most shops open only for a few hours in the morning and lay closed for the rest. The Kerala government that gloats over the advancement in the IT sector should iron out this issue at the latest, else the disgrace and criticism will be too hard to sheild.

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