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WB Public Distribution System Mtc. and Control Order, 2013

Published in Food & Supplies.

GOVERNMENT OF WEST BENGAL
Department of Food and Supplies
11A, Mirza Galib Street, Kolkata-700 087.

No. 2347-FS/Sectt/Food/4P-09/2012 Kolkata, the 8th August, 2013.

Whereas the Governor is of the opinion that it is necessary and expedient so to do for maintaining supplies and securing availability and distribution of essential commodities under the Public Distribution System;

Now, therefore, in exercise of the power conferred by Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (10 of 1955) read with the Government of India, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution (Department of Food & Public Distribution) Order No. G.S.R.630(E) dated 31st August, 2001, the Governor is pleased hereby to make the following Order, namely

ORDER
PART I
Preliminary

1. Short Title & Commencement

(a) This Order may be called The West Bengal Public Distribution System (Maintenance & Control ) Order, 2013.

(b) It extends to the whole of West Bengal except the areas where the West Bengal Urban Public Distribution System (Maintenance & Control) Order, 2013 is in force.

(c) It shall come into force on the date of publication in the Official Gazette.

2. Definitions

In this Order, unless the context otherwise requires, –

(a) “Act” means the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (10 of 1955);

(b) “Above Poverty Line (APL) Families” means those families who have been issued Above Poverty Line ration cards by the Department of Food and Supplies, Government of West Bengal, for issue of public distribution commodities along with certain other specified items of daily use under the Public Distribution System;

(c) “Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) Families” means those poorest families from amongst the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families identified as such by the concerned authority under the Government of West Bengal and to whom Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) ration cards have been issued for distribution of public distribution commodities under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) Scheme along with certain other specified items of daily use under the Public Distribution System ;

(d) “Appellate Authority” means the authority appointed by the State Government to exercise the powers of the Appellate Authority under this Order ;

(e) “Annapurna beneficiaries” means persons identified as such by the concerned authority of the Govt. of West Bengal and to whom Annapurna Ration Cards have been issued for distribution of food grains of specified quantity on monthly basis under the Annapurna Scheme.

(f) “Below Poverty Line (BPL) families” means those families who have been identified by the concerned authority under the Government of West Bengal and to whom BPL ration cards have been issued for distribution of public distribution commodities under BPL scheme along with other specified items of daily use under Public Distribution System ;

(g) “Collector” in relation to a district means the District Magistrate and includes an officer not below the rank of SDO as may be authorized by the Collector ;

(h) “Dealer” or “Fair Price Shop Owner” means a person and includes association of persons or a registered Cooperative Society or a corporation or a company or a registered Self Help Group or any other legally constituted body in whose name a shop has been licensed to distribute and sell public distribution commodifies to ration card holders under the Public Distribution System by an order issued under Part III;

(i) “Director” means the Director of District Distribution, Procurement and Supply, Department of Food and Supplies, Government of West Bengal and includes an Officer not below the rank of Assistant Director in the said Directorate authorized by the said Director in writing to perform all or any of the functions of the Director under this Order;

(j) “Distributor” means a person and includes a association of persons or a registered Co-operative Society or a Corporation or a company or a registered Self Help Group or any other legally constituted body in whose name distributorship has been licensed to distribute and sell public distribution commodities to the Fair Price Shops under the Public Distribution System by an order issued under Part III;

(k) “Essential Commodities” means essential commodities as defined under section 2A of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.

(l) “Fair Price Shop” means a shop engaged and licensed under this Control Order for distribution of public distribution commodities against ration documents.

(m) “Family members” means spouse, dependent parents, dependent sons and daughters for the purpose of considering engagement as Dealers/ Distributors on compassionate ground.

(n) “Holder of the ration card” means & includes a person whose name, age and other particulars as may be required by the State Government are included in a ration card ;

(o) “Licensee” means a Distributor or a fair price shop owner or any other person or establishment holding a valid licence granted under this Order;

(p) “Licensing Authority” means the District Controller (F&S) in case of a Distributor and the Sub-divisional Controller (F&S) in case of “Dealer” or “Fair Price Shop Owner” within their jurisdiction.

(q) “Monitoring/ Vigilance Committees” shall mean and include several Committees constituted from time to time by the Government of West Bengal in the Food & Supplies Department.

(r) “Market price” of a public distribution commodity means the Economic cost of the commodity as determined by the Government of India once in each year.

(s) “Notification” means notification published in the Official Gazette ;

(t) “Place of Business” means a place in the shop-cum-godown of FPS owners and in an office in the approved godown or in an office adjacent to the approved godown of distributors where books of accounts are kept.

(u) “Public distribution commodity” means such commodities from the list of essential commodities as may be declared to be public distribution commodity by the State Government and distributed from fair price shops, licensed under this Order; rice and wheat including fortified atta resulted from wheat being crushed and fortified by iron, vitamin and folic acid are declared as Public Distribution Commodities under the provisions of this Order.

(v) “Public Distribution System” means a system for distribution of public distribution commodities to the holders of ration documents through the fair price shops ;

(w) “Ration document” means an individual ration card including a family ration card, or a ration permit, or any other documents issued by the authority under Food and Supplies Department, Government of West Bengal, for the purchase of public distribution commodities and other commodities of daily use as specified by the Government from time to time, from the fair price shops.

(x) “Ration Card Issuing Authority” means Sub-divisional Controller of Food and Supplies, Government of West Bengal and includes an officer not below the rank of a Sub-Inspector of Food and Supplies Department having jurisdiction.

(y) “State Government” means the Government of West Bengal in the Department of Food and Supplies.

(aa) “Vigilance Squad” means squad formed by the State Government or by the Director or by the licensing authority for the purpose of close surveillance over the functioning of Dealers and Distributors.

(ab) “Welfare schemes” means such schemes as are launched by the Govt. of India from time to time like Mid-Day Meal, Annapurna Yojana etc., where dealers and distributors are required to function in the process of lifting and distributing food grains for the beneficiaries.

Unless the context otherwise requires words and explanation used in this Order and not defined shall have the same meaning as assigned in the Act.

PART II
Issue of Ration Card

3. Entitlement

Every bonafide citizen of India or every family having resided ordinarily in the State of West Bengal in the areas excluding the areas covered by Urban Public Distribution System (Maintenance & Control) Order, 2013 and having no ration card anywhere will be entitled to have a ration card to be issued by the authority under the Food and Supplies Department, Government of West Bengal, for any one of the categories such as APL & BPL (including AAY and Annapurna) so as to enable the holder of the card to draw public distribution commodities from a Fair Price Shop.

4. Procedure for issue of ration card

a) Any person or any family having no ration card anywhere may apply to the Inspector or Sub-Inspector of Food and Supplies having jurisdiction in Form 1 for getting ration card and the Inspector or Sub-Inspector, after causing an enquiry in regard to the particulars furnished by the applicant and having been satisfied with the correctness of the information furnished by the said applicant will issue a ration card with the approval of the concerned Sub-divisional Controller, Food & Supplies, within one month from the date of receipt of the application. However, if the Inspector or Sub-Inspector does not find the application suitable for issue of ration card he shall refuse to issue ration cards to any or all members of the family for whom ration card has been applied for, after recording the reasons of rejection in writing with intimation to the applicant within the stipulated period for issue of ration card.

b) BPL, AAY and Annapurna ration cards: BPL, AAY and Annapurna ration card shall be issued on the basis of identification made by the local bodies, i.e. Panchayats, Municipalities or such other bodies as approved by a well-defined competent authority determined by Government of West Bengal.

c) Issue of Distinctive Ration Cards: Distinctive Ration Card shall be issued to APL, BPL, AAY and Annapurna category.

5. Appeal against refusal of ration card

An applicant having denied a ration card shall be at liberty to appeal against such denial to the District Controller, Food and Supplies and the concerned District Controller, Food and Supplies, after examination and also after giving a personal hearing to the applicant shall dispose of the said appeal within fifteen days from the date of filing of such appeal.

6. Validity of ration card

Ration Card so issued shall remain valid till the holder of the ration card resides at the given address for which ration card has been issued or his/ her death.

7. Surrender of ration Card

In the event of change of residence from one place to another outside the jurisdiction of ration card issuing authority or from this State to any other State in the country or outside the country, the holder of the ration card shall surrender his/her ration card to the issuing authority along with an application stating therein the reason for such surrender and the issuing authority shall issue a surrender certificate in Form “A” to the applicant after cancellation of the ration card. The cancelled ration cards shall be attached to the surrender certificate. In case the ration card is a family ration card and surrender certificate is issued for some member/ members, the family card shall be cancelled and fresh individual ration card will be issued to remaining individual members. Simultaneously with the issue of surrender certificate intimation of surrender of card shall be given to the concerned FPS owner to ensure safeguard against unauthorized drawal of ration.

In the event of death, it is obligatory on the part of the legal representatives of the deceased Card Holder to surrender the ration card of the deceased to the Issuing Authority within thirty days from the death of the deceased card holder against acknowledgement.

Date of death of a ration card holder shall normally be reported by any member of this deceased’s family. Even if not so reported the Ration Card issuing Authority shall act on a monthly statement of death cases to be forwarded to him/her by the death registration certificate issuing authority of local bodies i.e. Municipality/ Corporation/ Panchayat/ Cantonment Board/ Notified area as the case may be.

8. Issue of safe custody slip

If a ration card holder deposits his/her ration card to the ration card issuing authority for his/her leaving the area for a considerable period, the said authority shall issue a safe-custody slip on an application made by him/her, preserve the card and intimate the dealer accordingly and return the same to the card holder on being so requested by him/her. In such case card will not be invalid.

9. Cancellation of Ration cards

In the event of death of the holder of Ration Card, or change of residence by any holder of ration card without giving any information to the concerned ration card issuing authority, or ration card issued in a fraudulent manner, the issuing authority shall forthwith cancel the ration card so issued after recording the reasons for such cancellation.

Where a person is found to obtain a ration card in a fraudulent manner by furnishing false documents/ certificate or by impersonation or in any other fraudulent manner, the issuing authority besides cancelling the said card, if already issued, shall lodge an FIR with the local police station against the person or person(s) found to obtain or assisting to obtain a ration card in a fraudulent manner for taking necessary action against the concerned person in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

10. Suspension of ration card for long absence or for non-drawal of ration commodities for a period of exceeding eight weeks

(a) If a ration card holder is found absent from his recorded residence for a period of more than eight weeks consecutively or if he fails to draw any public distribution commodity from the fair price shop for a period exceeding consecutive eight weeks, the issuing authority shall place the said ration card under suspension with an intimation to the fair price shop.

(b) If a ration card holder fails to produce his/ her ration card on demand by an Inspecting Officer forthwith, the ration card shall be suspended with immediate effect by the officer, who, following suspension, will report it to the card issuing authority.

11. Revalidation of suspended ration card

If a ration card holder applies for revalidation of his/ her card which had been placed under suspension by the issuing authority, the said issuing authority if satisfied after consideration of the prayer for such revalidation may arrange for revalidation of the card within seven days from the date of receipt of such application.

12. Change of address, age, name, surname, head of the family in ration card

In the event of any change of address, age, name, surname, head of the family, the holder of the ration card shall apply to the Sub-Inspector/ Inspector of Food and Supplies Department in Form-2. The Sub-Inspector/ Inspector after making such enquiry as he may thinks fit, allow the changes as prayed for by the holder.

13. Re-issue and replacement of mutilated, defaced, lost card, etc.

On surrender of mutilated and defaced ration card or reporting of loss of ration card, along with the prescribed fee as may be specified by notification, a fresh ration card against the mutilated, defaced or lost card shall be issued. Application shall be made in Form-3.

14. Introduction of new format of ration card

Government shall have the power to introduce individual Ration Card or Family Ration card or any Identity Card for the consumers for the drawal of Public Distribution Commodities from Fair Price Shops by issuing notification separately. The Government shall also have the power to introduce Photo Ration Card/ digitised Bar Coded ration card/ general/ or in any shape and form for better management of Public Distribution System. In the event of introduction of new cards in any form, the existing ration cards shall automatically be cancelled.

15. Power of the State Government to make addition or alteration or amendment or refusal

Whenever in the opinion of the State Government, it is necessary or expedient so to do in the interest of the public, the State Government, may, add to, amend, vary or rescind any ration card after giving the ration card holder an opportunity of being heard and in every such case the ration card holder shall be bound to surrender the same for endorsement or cancellation.

PART III
Distribution of Public Distribution Commodities ; engagement of Dealers & Distributors and Monitoring.

16. Submission of indents

Every dealer shall submit an indent to the S.C.F.S/Inspector/Sub-Inspector of Food and Supplies Department indicating his requirement and closing stock in Form B and the said Inspector shall make allotment of public distribution commodities for taking delivery from the authorized agencies engaged in distribution of essential commodities under the Public Distribution System.

17. Lifting of public distribution commodities

Every dealer after having allotment of public distribution commodities as may be made by the allotting authorities separately for APL, BPL, Antyodaya Anna Yojana and Annapurna shall take delivery of the allotted stock within 48 hours of such allotment from the concerned Distributor through door-step delivery system, wherever introduced/to be introduced. While making an allotment, the allotting authority shall consider the weekly or fortnightly requirements of the concerned dealer on the basis of number of ration cards and scales of distribution of public distribution commodities as may be fixed by the State Government from time to time and balance stock in hand.

18. Distribution of public distribution commodities against ration cards

Every Dealer shall arrange for distribution of public distribution commodities between 7.30 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. in the morning and between 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the evening against the ration cards and shall not deny the distribution of public distribution commodities to any ration card holder, who presents the ration card during the working hours on any distribution day.

Explanation – Distribution day means Tuesday to Saturday and morning Session on Sunday.

19. Duties and responsibilities of dealers

1) Easily identifiable location of the shop:-

Every dealer shall arrange conspicuous display of a glowing signboard of suitable size and format in front of his/her shop as prescribed by the State Government.

2) Display of BPL, AAY and Annapurna list:-

Every dealer shall display list of BPL, AAY and Annapurna beneficiaries in a conspicuous place of the shop so that it becomes visible and clearly legible for any visitor to the shop.

3) Registration and authentication of Ration Cards:-

On presentation of a card for registration, a dealer shall enter the particulars of the Ration Card in the Ration Card register, post a folio No. in the Ration Card in accordance with page no and serial no. of entry of Ration Card, detach the counterfoil from the Card and return the Ration Card to its holder. The Ration Card having thus been registered, the dealer shall not refuse distribution of food grains to him/ her from the following week. The dealer shall produce the detached counterfoil before the ration card issuing authority for authentication of Registration.

4) Maintenance of a Notice Board:-

Every dealer shall maintain a Notice Board to be displayed at a conspicuous place of the shop within easy and clear view of the Ration Card holder containing the following details.

a) Date

b) Registration Position

c) Opening Balance of Available Commodities

d) Scale of Distribution and retail price of each commodity

e) Name of the authority for redressal of grievances/ Lodging of complaints

f) Opening and Closing hours of the shop.

g) Information on the availability of the complaint Book in the form “Complaint Books are available here for registering complaint”.

5) Display of sample Jar/ Bottles:-

Every dealer shall display samples of commodities on sale in different Jars/ Polythin Bags at shop counter for inspection by the Card holders. As and when a new bag is opened for sale, the sample should be changed to represent the stock of the new bag.

6) Maintenance of stock for distribution to Ration Card holders:-

Every dealer shall maintain adequate stock of all varieties of public distribution commodities and some specified articles of daily use for distribution to Ration Card holders. He/ She shall be responsible for timely replenishment of stock against indents passed by the Inspector. In case of delay or shortfall in supply for reason beyond his/ her control, a dealer shall report it to the Inspector for replenishment by inter-shop transfer or by any other means as may be decided by the Inspector. Every dealer shall ensure the quality of Public Distribution commodity during the time of obtaining its delivery from the authorised agencies. A dealer shall issue all stocks strictly in order of priority of receipts i.e. “First in – First Out” basis.

7) Regulation for storage and sale:

a) A dealer shall not store or sell any commodity outside the selected Public Distribution commodities as allotted to him/her, provided that a dealer may be permitted to store and/or sell such other articles at such price and in such quantities and in such manner as may be directed by the Central/ State Government under different schemes including welfare schemes to be operated separately and not forming a part of this Order.

b) A dealer shall not store any Public Distribution Commodity in any place outside the shop-cum-godowns as endorsed in the licence without previous written permission of the licensing authority. Notwithstanding this provision, if a dealer is compelled to change the place of storage of the Public distribution Commodities temporarily due to any natural calamities, he/ she shall report the matter to the licensing authority within the next working day. For permanent shifting of shop-cum-godown, written permission of the concerned District Controller, Food & Supplies is required.

8) Calibration of weighing devices:-

Every dealer shall get his/her weighing devices calibrated by the competent authority of the government periodically and shall keep the calibration certificate in the shop premises for production on demand before the authorized officials. The dealer shall be responsible for correct weight and measure of the public distribution commodities, delivered to the holders of ration documents.

9) Physical verification of stock:-

Every dealer shall extend all sorts of co-operation to the authorised officials for arranging physical certification of stock. Under any circumstances he/ she shall have to arrange for sufficient number of labourers for weighment of the stock so that even minimum delay is avoided. For this purpose, the dealer shall make available a big scale with suitable weight stones of appropriate denominations.

10) Issue of Cash Memo:-

A dealer shall issue cash memo in duplicate for every transaction stating the number of units served, quantity and commodity supplied, prices charged for each item and total prices charged. The original copy of the cash memo shall be given to the holder of ration document while the duplicate copy shall be retained in the cash Memo book. The dealer shall not charge any excess price over the issue price fixed by the State Government from time to time.

11) Prompt Distribution:-

Every dealer shall serve ration promptly without any undue delay and causing inconvenience to the Ration Card holders for which a dealer shall arrange space for convenient standing of the rationees below a suitable shade.

12) Maintenance and preservation of different registers:-

Every dealer should maintain proper books of accounts including Ration Card register. Daily Stock Register, Daily Sales Registers, Indent Register, non- Drawal Register, Register of Blank cash Memo books, Inspection book and Complaint book of 200 pages each serially numbered and such other registers as the Director may prescribe. All Such registers and books are to be duly certified by an official of F & S Deptt. not below the rank of Sub- Inspector and shall be maintained and preserved at the shop premises as permanent records for a period of not less than two years from the date of closure of the registers so that they are readily available for inspection on demand. Duplicate carbon copies of each memo shall also be preserved for the same period in a chronological order. The dealer shall maintain Daily Sales Register preferably as and when sale proceeds but under no circumstances shall be allowed to fall arrear even for a day.

13) Safe storage of Stock :-

Every dealer shall ensure the storage of Public distribution commodities in proper and hygienic manner and shall take quality maintenance measures including rodent control ones to ensure safe and proper storage of stocks.

14) Withholding of stock from sale :-

The dealer shall not sell any stock of bad or doubtful quality to the holders of ration documents.

15) Non-Possession of ration document :-

No dealer shall retain any ration document including ration card in his/her shop except under specified instruction of the concerned Sub-Divisional Controller or his authorized officials. Any such ration document left behind by a person shall be deposited forthwith with the concerned Sub-Divisional Controller or his authorized officials.

16) Obedience to the instructions of the Director:-

Every dealer shall abide by the instructions as may be issued from time to time by Director or by any other officers authorised by him/her in this behalf, including the licensing authority.

17) Social Audit:-

Every dealer shall be subjected to social audit to be conducted by formal and informal institutions as prescribed by the State Govt.

18) Lodging of FIR:-

If a crowd is assembled in front of a F.P.S where inspection is in progress, the dealer shall lodge an FIR with local Police Station, stating his/her apprehension of breach of peace.

20. Engagement of Dealer

(i) In the event of-

a) resignation of any dealer ;

Or

b) death or incapacitation of the existing individual dealer on medical ground, unless any of his/ her family members is found suitable for engagement on Compassionate ground as per Sub-Clause (vi) ;

Or

c) dissolution of firm formed by a group of people ;

Or

d) cancellation of licence issued to a dealer for any reason whatsoever ;

Or

e) (in the case of private limited company) the transfer of majority shareholding of that company in favour of the third party i.e. other than promoters/ Directors of that company ;

the resultant vacancy has to be notified by the Sub-divisional Controller, Food and Supplies with prior approval of the department.

(ii) If it appears necessary for the District Administration to declare a new vacancy for catering to the need of consumers in any particular area, the vacancy has to be declared with the approval of Department. In that case the Sub-divisional Controller, Food and Supplies shall submit the proposal of any vacancy of dealer to the concerned District Controller (F&S), who in turn, will send it to the Director of DDP&S. The Director, DDP&S, will examine the proposal, if necessary, make re-enquiry and send the proposal to the Department for approval. After obtaining approval of the State Government, the Sub-divisional Controller, Food and Supplies shall declare such vacancy stating the eligibility criteria through notice in the office notice board and official Gazette notification/ advertisement in a local as well as in a widely circulated daily news paper. The last date of receiving applications shall be thirty days from the date of notification of the vacancy.

iii) Applications for filling up the vacancies as notified in Sub-Clause (ii) hereinbefore shall be invited from Self Help Groups/ Registered Co-operative Societies/ Semi-Government bodies/ individuals/ group of individuals as an entity. In case of fresh vacancies preference may be given to Self Help Groups, specially women Self Help Groups. If the applicant be individual(s), he/ she/ they should be permanent resident of the concerned Sub-division. The applications received in Form C along with annexure I and requisite fee as prescribed in Schedule-A within the stipulated time shall be enquired by the Sub-divisional Controller, Food and Supplies within one month from the last date of receipt of the applications as notified, and the report so prepared shall be sent with his comments to the concerned District Controller, Food and Supplies The said District Controller, Food and Supplies will forward the same with his comments through the concerned District Magistrate to the Director, DDP&S, within a month from the date of receipt of the report from the Sub-divisional Controller, Food and Supplies. The Director, DDP&S, in turn, will forward the same to the Department with his specific opinion.

Provided that if the Government so desires it may give such opportunities to only Self Help Groups or Cooperative societies or Semi Government bodies or such other public agencies by separate notifications.

iv) The State Government, if necessary, may arrange for further enquiry into the matter by any competent Officer or by a team of Officers and thereafter shall accord approval selecting the most suitable candidate for filling up the vacancy.

v) After obtaining Government approval, the Sub-divisional Controller, Food and Supplies shall issue an offer letter in Form “D” to the approved candidate/ organization with the direction for furnishing recent passport size photograph(s), security deposit and licensing fee as per Clause 21(i) and Schedule-A,

vi) Engagement on compassionate grounds In case of vacancy arising out of death or in case of incapacitation on medical ground, subject to satisfaction of the authority, of any existing dealer, such vacancy shall not initially be notified. Prayer of any of the family members of the deceased/ incapacitated dealer having no regular means of subsistence, will be considered with preference on compassionate ground provided such prayer along with formal application in Form C along with annexure I with requisite fee is submitted within 60 days from the occurrence of such vacancy.

While applying, the applicant shall have to furnish “No Objection” from other family members in the form of an Affidavit executed before a 1st Class Magistrate except in the following cases (a) if the applicant be the spouse of the deceased licensee, (b) if the ex-licensee, because of his/ her being incapacitated/ infirm has opted for the applicant.

The Sub-divisional Controller, Food and Supplies shall arrange for an enquiry to verify the eligibility of the applicant and submit the report with his opinion to the District Controller, Food and Supplies. While forwarding a case on medical ground the Sub-divisional Controller should satisfy himself/ herself on examination of the medical prescription and certificate issued by a Registered Government Medical Practitioner that the ex-licensee was not in a position to run dealership business considering his/ her health ground. The District Controller, Food & Supplies, shall forward the same with his comments to the State Government through the Director, DDP&S for necessary approval.

The Sub-divisional Controller, Food and Supplies after having Government approval, shall issue an offer letter in Form D to the approved candidate, directing him/ her to furnish recent passport size photograph(s), security deposit and licensing fee as per Clause 21(i) and Schedule-A,

vii) Dealership run by any individual person shall not be allowed for inclusion of any partner(s). In the case of induction of new partner or substitution or exclusion of an existing partner, in an existing partnership licence, the same may be considered on merit subject to the provision of the Indian Partnership Act 1932 as amended from time to time.

21. Issue of License to a dealer, renewal of License etc.

i) The Sub-divisional Controller, Food & Supplies shall grant a provisional licence to the approved candidate/ organisation who has complied with the terms and conditions as laid down in the offer letter with validity for a maximum period of one year. The licence shall be issued in form ‘E’ authorising such dealer to carry on trade in public distribution commodities under Public Distribution System and shall be subject to such conditions as are specified therein and such other conditions as the Director or Licensing Authority may prescribe from time to time in the interest of Public Distribution System.

ii) Every licence issued under clause 21(i) of this Order shall normally be valid for a period of one year from the date of the issue and first renewal will be made upto 31 December next subject to satisfactory performance and confirmation of the dealer and on receipt of an application for renewal in Form F and a renewal fee as mentioned in Schedule-A hereinafter from the licensee. Thereafter every licence may be renewed for successive period of one year on application made in proper form in that behalf to the licensing authority.

iii) The licence, unless an application for renewal is made within the period of validity, will stand revoked after the expiry of the validity period. In that case, if the licensee prays for renewal of licence within 30 days from the date of expiry, the licensing authority may renew the licence on realization of fine of such amount as may be prescribed by the Government, if it thinks that reasons for non-renewal of the licence was beyond the control of the licensee.

iv) Apart from the said licence fees, every dealer shall be liable to pay security deposit of an amount as mentioned in Schedule-A through Treasury Challan in T.R. Form No.7 under the Head of Account as prescribed by the Government.

v) In the event of loss/ defacement/ damage of the licence granted under this Order, the dealer may apply for a duplicate licence on deposit of a fee as mentioned in Schedule-A hereinafter and the Sub-divisional Controller, Food and Supplies shall arrange for issue of a fresh licence in place thereof after proper enquiry. Thereupon the lost/ defaced/ damaged licence shall be deemed to be cancelled.

vi) The Government shall not be liable for payment of any interest for the security deposit.

vii) All kinds of fees shall be deposited through Treasury Challan in TR Form No.7 under the Head of Account as prescribed by the Government.

22. Power of the Licensing Authority to refuse, grant, reissue or renewal of licence

The Licensing authority may after giving Licensee an opportunity of stating his/ her case in writing, and after giving him/ her an opportunity of being heard and for reasons to be recorded in writing refuse to grant or re-issue or renew a licence.

23. Power to enter and inspect premises and to require information, accounts, etc.

With a view to securing the equitable distribution of food grains and other public distribution commodities and for the purpose of securing compliance with the provisions of this Order or any regulation made there under or any direction issued under such order, any official not below the rank of a Sub-Inspector of the Food and Supplies having jurisdiction in the area or a vigilance squad having been duly constituted or any police officer not below the rank of Sub-Inspector of police with prior intimation to the licensing authority and accompanied by an officer not below the rank of Sub-Inspector of F&S Department may –

(a) enter any premises used or believed to be used for the sale, distribution or storage for sale or distribution of public distribution commodities and inspect any such premises and public distribution commodities therein or thereon ;

(b) require any person to make any statement or furnish any information or to produce any document or article in his/ her possession or under his/ her control relating to the purchase, sale, distribution or storage of any public distribution commodity and every person so required shall comply with the requirement;

(c) require any person to render any account or to produce books of accounts or documents believed to be in his/ her possession relating to purchase and sale of public distribution commodities ;

(d) take or cause to be taken extracts from the copies of any documents relating to the purchase, sale, distribution or storage of public distribution commodities which is produced under sub-clause (b) or sub-clause (c) above or otherwise found in any such premises ;

(e) test or cause to be tested the correctness of any weight or measure used or believed to be used in any transaction relating to the sale or distribution of public distribution commodities ;

(f) take or cause to be taken the weight of all or any of the public distribution commodities found in any such premises, prepare weighment chart and chart of physical verification of stock.;

(g) inspect and seize any stock of public distribution commodities (including atta/wheat flour) or any document relating to the purchase, sale, distribution or storage of public distribution commodities in respect of which the concerned official has reason to suspect that a contravention of these orders or of any directions issued under such order has been, is being, or is about to be committed.

24. Power to take action against a licensee for committing irregularities

(i) If a licensee or his/ her agent or any other person acting on his/ her behalf contravenes any of the provisions of this order or any of the regulations made thereunder or any of the conditions of his/ her licence, or any discrepancy of stocks or in the weighment device is detected, the Sub-divisional Controller, Food and Supplies, shall issue a notice to the concerned Dealer asking for explanation in writing for such contravention & discrepancy and may also place the dealership under suspension till the disposal of the proceedings by the Sub-divisional Controller, Food and Supplies. In case of suspension, the concerned ration card holders shall be tagged temporarily with the neighbouring Dealer for uninterrupted supply of public distribution commodities.

(ii) The licensing authority after giving the licensee an opportunity of being heard and after recording the reasons thereof, may terminate the licence or may reduce the volume of business through reduction of tagged ration cards and/ or impose fine according to the gravity of the offence as annexed in Schedule-A.

In case of imposition of fine the licensee shall have to deposit the fine with the Sub-divisional Controller, Food and Supplies through Treasury Challan in TR Form No.7 under the Head of Account as prescribed by the Government.

Entire proceedings shall be completed within 60 days from the date of issue of the show- cause notice.

25. Appeal

Any dealer or FPS licensee aggrieved by an order of the Sub-divisional Controller, Food and Supplies, denying the issue or renewal of the licence to the fair price shop owner, or cancellation of the licence may prefer an appeal to the District Controller, Food and Supplies concerned within 30 days from the date of receipt of the order of Sub-Divisional Controller, Food and Supplies concerned and on receipt of such appeal District Controller, Food and Supplies concerned shall dispose of the appeal within 60 days from the date of receipt of the appeal petition after giving opportunity of hearing to the appellant. If the FP shop owner is aggrieved or dissatisfied with the order of District Controller, Food and Supplies concerned he may appeal against the order of the District Controller, Food and Supplies concerned to the Director, DDP&S, within thirty days of the date of receipt of the order and the Director shall as far as practicable dispose of the appeal within a period of sixty days from the date of receipt of the appeal after giving the person a reasonable opportunity of being heard.

26. Engagement of Distributor

(i) In the event of –

a) resignation of any Distributor ;

Or

b) death or incapacitation of the existing Distributor on medical ground, unless any of his/ her family members is found suitable for engagement on Compassionate ground as per Sub-Clause (vi).

Or

c) dissolution of firm formed by a group of people;

Or

d) cancellation of licence issued to a Distributor for any reason whatsoever ;

Or

e) (in the case of private limited company) the transfer of majority shareholding of that company in favour of the third party i.e. other than promoters/ Directors of that company ;

the resultant vacancy has to be notified by the District Controller, Food and Supplies with prior approval of the department.

(ii) If it appears necessary for the District Administration to declare a new vacancy for better functioning of Public Distribution System in a particular area, the vacancy is to be declared with the approval of Department. In that case the SC F&S shall submit the proposal of any vacancy of Distributor to the concerned District Controller (F&S). The concerned District Controller, Food and Supplies shall send the same to the Director, DDP&S, with the opinion of the concerned District Magistrate. The Director, DDP&S, will examine the proposal, and send it to the Department with his specific views. After obtaining approval of the State Government, the District Controller, Food and Supplies shall declare such vacancy stating the eligibility criteria through notice in the office notice board and official Gazette notification/ advertisement in a local as well as a widely circulated daily newspaper. The last date of receiving applications shall be thirty days from the date of notification of the vacancy.

(iii) Applications for filling up the vacancies as notified in Sub-Clause (ii) hereinbefore shall be invited from Self Help Groups/ Registered Co-operative Societies/ Semi-Government bodies/ individuals/ group of individuals as an entity. In case of fresh vacancies preference may be given to Self Help Groups, specially women Self Help Groups. If the applicant be individual(s), he/ she/ they should be permanent resident of the concerned district. The applications received in Form G along with annexure I & II and requisite fee as prescribed in Schedule-B within the stipulated time shall be enquired by the Sub-divisional Controller, Food and Supplies within one month period from the last date of receipt of the applications as notified, and the report so prepared shall be sent with his comment to the concerned District Controller, Food and Supplies. The said District Controller, Food and Supplies shall forward the same with his comments through the concerned District Magistrate to the Director, DDP&S, within thirty days from the date of receipt of the report from the Sub-divisional Controller, Food and Supplies. The Director, DDP&S, in turn, will forward the same to the Department with his views.

Provided that if the Government so desires it may give such opportunities to only Self Help Groups or Cooperative societies or Semi Government bodies or such other public agencies by separate notifications.

iv) The State Government, if necessary, may arrange for further enquiry into the matter by any competent Officer or by a team of Officers and thereafter shall accord approval selecting the most suitable candidate/organisation for filling up the vacancy.

v) After obtaining government approval District Controller, Food and Supplies shall issue an offer letter in form ‘H’ to the approved candidate/ organization with the direction for furnishing recent passport size photograph(s), security deposit and licensing fee as per Clause 27(i) and Schedule-B,

vi) Engagement on compassionate grounds :-In case of vacancy arising out of death or incapacitation on medical ground of any existing distributor, such vacancy shall not initially be notified. Prayer of any of the family members of the deceased/ incapacitated distributor having no regular means of subsistence, will be considered with preference on compassionate ground provided such prayer along with formal application in Form ‘G’ along with the annexure I & II and requisite fee is submitted within 60 days from the occurrence of such vacancy, However, the applicant should be capable of running the Distributorship smoothly.

While applying, the applicant shall have to furnish “No Objection” from other family members in the form an Affidavit executed before a 1st Class Magistrate except in the following cases :- (a) if the applicant be the spouse of the deceased licensee, (b) if the ex-licensee, because of his/ her being incapacitated/ infirm has opted for the applicant.

The District Controller, Food and Supplies shall arrange for an enquiry to verify the eligibility of the applicant and submit the report with his opinion to the Director, DDP&S. While forwarding a case on medical ground the District Controller should satisfy himself/ herself on examination of the medical prescription and certificate issued by a Registered Government Medical Practitioner that the ex-licensee is not in a position to run distributorship business considering his/ her health ground. The Director, DDP&S, shall send the same with his comments to the Department for necessary approval. The District Controller, Food and Supplies after having Government approval, shall issue an offer letter to the approved candidate, directing him/her to furnish recent passport size photograph(s), security deposit and licensing fee as per Clause 27(i) and Schedule-B,

vii) Distributorship run by any individual person shall not be allowed for inclusion of any partner(s). In the case of induction of a new partner or substitution or exclusion of an existing partner, in an existing partnership licence, the same may be considered on merit subject to the provision of the Indian Partnership Act 1932 as amended from time to time.

27. Issue of Licence to a Distributor, Renewal of licence etc.

(i) The District Controller, Food and Supplies shall grant a licence to the approved candidate/organization in Form-I on compliance of what has been laid down in the offer letter provisionally for a maximum period of one year from the date of issue, authorizing such Distributor to carry on trade as per provisions of the order.

(ii) Every licence issued under clause 27 (i) of this order shall be renewed upto 31st December next subject to satisfactory performance and confirmation of the distributor and on receipt of an application for renewal in Form J and a renewal fee as mentioned in Schedule-B hereinafter from the licensee. Thereafter every licence shall be renewed for successive periods of one year on application made in proper form in that behalf to the licensing authority.

(iii) The licence, unless an application for renewal is made within the period of validity, will stand revoked after the expiry of the validity period. In that case, if the licensee prays for renewal of licence within 30 days from the date of expiry, the licensing authority may renew the licence on realization of fine of such amount as may be prescribed by the Government, if the licensing authority thinks that reasons for non-renewal of the licence was beyond the control of the licensee.

(iv) Apart from the said licence fees, every Distributor shall be liable to pay Security deposit as well for such amount as mentioned in Schedule-B through Treasury Challan in T.R. Form No.7 under the Head of Account as prescribed by the Government.

(v) In the event of loss/ defacement/ damage of the licence granted under this Order, the Distributor may apply for a duplicate licence on deposit of a fee as mentioned in Schedule-B hereinafter and the District Controller, Food and Supplies shall arrange for issue of a fresh licence in place thereof after proper enquiry. Thereupon the lost/ defaced/ damaged licence shall be deemed to be cancelled.

(vi) All kinds of fees shall be deposited through Treasury Challan in TR Form No.7 under the Head of Account, as prescribed by the Government,

(vii) Government shall not be liable for payment of any interest for the security deposit.

28. Power of the Licensing Authority to refuse, grant, reissue or renewal of licence

The Licensing authority may, after giving the Licensee an opportunity of stating his/ her case in writing, and after giving him/ her an opportunity of being heard and for reasons to be recorded in writing refuse to grant or reissue or renew a licence.

29. Duties and Responsibilities of a distributor

1) Boards to be maintained by the distributor:

a) Sign Board- The distributor shall display a glow sign board of suitable size as prescribed by Govt at a conspicuous place in front of his/her place of business/godown. It shall contain certain inscriptions as prescribed the State Government.

b) Board indicating stock position The distributor shall maintain a Board in each of the approved godowns indicating the daily stock positions of different commodities in the following form:-

i) Dated ……….

ii) Name of commodities ………….

iii) Quantity …… Bags Qtl.Kg. & Gram.

c) The distributor shall maintain a rate-board indicating the following particulars.

i) Date

ii) Name of the commodities

iii) Distributor’s sale price per quintal.

2) Submission of indents and obtain delivery order

Every distributor shall submit an indent to the concerned Sub-Divisional Controller, Food & Supplies indicating his requirement and closing stock in Form B and the said Sub-Divisional Controller, Food & Supplies shall make allotment of public distribution commodities for taking delivery from the authorized agencies engaged in distribution of essential commodities under the Public Distribution System, after obtaining delivery order from concerned District Controller, Food & Supplies on depositing necessary banking instruments of required amount.

3) Maintenance of stock for supply to the dealers:-

Every distributor shall maintain adequate stock of all varieties of public distribution commodities for supply to the dealers in accordance with the indents passed by the Inspector, Food & Supplies. He/ She shall be responsible for timely replenishment of stock against indents passed by the SCF&S and delivery Orders issued by the concerned District Controller, Food & Supplies. In case of delay or shortfall in lifting of stocks for reasons beyond his/ her control, a distributor shall report it to the concerned District Controller, Food & Supplies for replenishment of stock by way of inter godown transfer or by any other means as may be decided by the District Controller, Food & Supplies in this behalf.

Every distributor shall ensure quality of public distribution commodity during the time of taking delivery from the authorized agencies. Every distributor shall keep the stock of each commodity separately and neatly arranged for easy identification. There should be alleys in between the stocks of different commodities. He/ She shall attach small Stack Boards to each stock to indicate the quantity both in bags and in weight, pertaining to the stock. Every distributor shall issue all stocks in order of priority of receipts i.e. “first in, first out” basis to prevent deterioration of stock on account of idle storage.

4) Regulation for storage and sale:-

a) A distributor shall not store or sell any commodity other than the public distribution commodities provided that a distributor may be permitted to stock and/or sell other articles to dealers only at such prices and in such quantities and in such manner as may be directed by the Central/ State government under different schemes including welfare schemes to be operated separately not forming a part of this Order.

b) A distributor shall not store any public distribution commodity in any place other than the godown(s) as endorsed in the license without prior written permission of the licensing authority. Notwithstanding this provision, if a distributor is compelled to store public distribution commodities in any other godown due to any natural calamity, he/ she shall report the matter to the licensing authority within the next working day. For permanent shifting of any godown, written permission of the Director of DDP&S is required.

5) Physical verification of stock:-

A distributor shall render all facilities for physical verification of stocks of public distribution commodities on demand by the inspecting officers in this behalf. Under all circumstances, he/ she shall have to arrange sufficient number of labourers for weighment of the stocks with the help of a big scale with suitable weight stones of appropriate denominations, so that even minimum delay is avoided. The big scale shall be kept in his/her godown.

6) Calibration and maintenance of weighing devices:-

Every distributor shall get his/her weighing devices duly calibrated by the competent authority of the Government of West Bengal and shall keep the calibration certificate in his/ her place of business for production on demand before the Inspecting officers.

Every Distributor shall maintain at least one scale for each godown with pointer with two sets of standard weights of all available denominations for weighment of commodities to the dealers.

7) Issue of cash Memos:-

Every distributor shall issue cash Memos in duplicate for every transaction of public distribution commodities with the following particulars

(a) Dealer’s address (b) commodity ( c) quantity (d) rate i.e. prices charged (e) total amount realised.

The original cash Memo shall be issued to the dealer receiving delivery and the duplicate copy to be retained by the distributor. The cash Memo shall also bear the signature of the person taking delivery of stock, name and number of the distributor, printed serial number and the seal of the distributor in both original and duplicate.

8) Maintenance and preservation of different registers :-

Every distributor shall maintain proper books of accounts including Daily Stock Register, Daily Sales Register, Indent Register, Register of blank cash memo books. Inspection book of 200 pages serially numbered and such other registers as the Director may prescribe. All such registers are to be duly certified by an official of F&S Deptt not below the rank of Sub-Inspector and shall be maintained at the place of business as permanent records for a period of two years at least from the date of closure of the registers so that that are readily available for inspection on demand. Duplicate copies of cash memo shall also be preserved for the same period in a chronological manner.

The distributor shall maintain Daily Sales Register preferably as and when sale proceeds but under no circumstances shall be allowed to fall arrear even for a day.

9) Safe storage of stock :-

Every distributor shall ensure safe storage of public distribution commodities in proper and hygienic manner and shall take quality maintenance measures including rodent control ones to ensure safe and proper storage of stocks.

10) Withholding of stock from sale:-

The distributor shall not sell any stock of bad and doubtful quality to the dealers.

11) Obedience to instructions of the Director:-

Every distributor shall abide by the instruction as may be issued from time to time by the director or by any other officer authorised by him/ her in this behalf, including the licensing authority.

12) Lodging of FIR:-

If a crowd is assembled in front of place of business or godowns where inspection is in progress, the distributor shall lodge an FIR with local Police Station, stating his/her apprehension of breach of peace.

30. Power to enter and inspect premises and to require information, accounts, etc.

With a view to securing the equitable distribution of food grains and other public distribution commodities and for the purpose of securing compliance with the provisions of this Order or any regulation made thereunder or any direction issued under such order, any official not below the rank of a Sub-Inspector of the Food and Supplies Department having jurisdiction in the area or a vigilance squad having been duly constituted or any police officer not below the rank of Sub-Inspector of police with prior intimation to the licensing authority and accompanied by an officer not below the rank of Sub-Inspector of F&S Department may –

(a) enter any premises used or believed to be used for the sale, distribution or storage for sale or distribution of public distribution commodities and inspect any such premises and public distribution commodities therein or thereon ;

(b) require any person to make any statement or furnish any information or to produce any document or article in his/ her possession or under his/ her control relating to the purchase, sale, distribution or storage of any public distribution commodity and every person so required shall comply with the requirement;

(c) require any person to render any account or to produce books of accounts or documents believed to be in his/ her possession relating to purchase and sale of public distribution commodities ;

(d) take or cause to be taken extracts from the copies of any document relating to the purchase, sale, distribution or storage of public distribution commodities which is produced under sub-clause(b) or sub-clause (c) above or otherwise found in any such premises ;

(e) test or cause to be tested the correctness of any weight or measure used or believed to be used in any transaction relating to the sale or distribution of public distribution commodities ;

(f) take or cause to be taken the weight of all or any of the public distribution commodities found in any such premises, prepare weighment chart and chart of physical verification of stock ;

(g) inspect and seize any stock of public distribution commodities (including atta/wheat flour) or any document relating to the purchase, sale, distribution or storage of public distribution commodities in respect of which the concerned official has reason to suspect that a contravention of these orders or of any directions issued under such order has been, is being, or is about to be committed.

31. Procedure for dealing with the irregularity of distributorship

a) Every Distributor shall abide by the instructions as may be issued from time to time by an authority not below the rank of Sub-Inspector working in the Department of Food & Supplies. He shall also abide by the terms and conditions of the offer letter and licence as may be issued to him as well as the provisions of this order,

b) If a Distributor or his authorized agent or employee or any other person acting on his behalf contravenes any of the provisions of this order or any of the regulations made there under or any of the conditions of his licence or any discrepancy is detected on examination of the documents and/ or stock of public distribution commodities or weighing devices, the District Controller, Food and Supplies shall issue a notice to the distributor for showing cause in writing of such contravention or discrepancy.

The District Controller, F&S, may also place the licence under suspension till disposal of the proceeding if in the opinion of District Controller, F&S, immediate suspension is necessary in the interest of general public.

In case of suspension the concerned dealers may be tagged temporarily with the neighbouring distributor for uninterrupted supply of public distribution commodities.

c) On receiving the reply from the distributor, the District Controller, F&S, after giving the licensee an opportunity of being heard and after recording the reasons thereof, may terminate the licence or may reduce the volume of business through reduction of tagged dealers and/ or impose a fine according to the gravity of the offence as annexed in Schedule-B hereinafter with the approval of the District Magistrate.

In case of imposition of fine, the licensee shall have to deposit the fine amount with the District Controller, F&S, through Treasury Challan in TR Form No.7 under the Head of Account as prescribed by the Government.

The proceedings drawn against the distributor shall have to be completed by the concerned District Controller, F&S, within sixty days from the date of serving notice asking for show cause.

32. Appeal

Any Distributor aggrieved by an order of the District Controller, Food and Supplies, denying the issue or renewal of the licence to the distributor, or cancellation of the licence or imposition of the fine may prefer an appeal to the Director, DDP&S within thirty days of the date of receipt of the order and the Director shall, as far as practicable, dispose of the appeal within a period of sixty days from the date of receipt of the appeal after giving the person a reasonable opportunity of being heard.

If the Distributor concerned is aggrieved or dissatisfied with the order of Director, DDP&S, he may prefer an appeal to the Secretary to the State Government within 30 days from the date of receipt of the order passed by the Director, DDP&S. The Secretary to the Government West Bengal, F&S Department, upon receipt of the appeal will dispose of the same within 60 days after giving opportunity of hearing to the appellant.

33. Vigilance & Monitoring Committees

The State Government may constitute Vigilance & Monitoring Committees at various levels. Such committees will discharge their functions as have been assigned to them for monitoring of Pubic Distribution System in the concerned areas.

34. Power to issue regulatory orders for all public distribution commodities

The State Government shall have the power to declare any essential commodity as public Distribution commodity and issue separate orders regulating storage, sale and distribution etc. in respect of such public distribution commodities not covered by the provisions of this order.

35. Power to amend, vary or introduce fresh provisions

The State Government may, if it is considered necessary, vary, amend or introduce fresh provisions not inconsistent with the provisions of the Act, and shall notify it in the official Gazette.

36. Power to introduce distribution of fortified atta in lieu of wheat

The State Government may introduce distribution of atta/fortified atta in lieu of wheat, whether in whole or in part, in any or all districts or its parts covered under the provisions of this Order provided that the Government may prescribe procedure and guideline for engagement of flour mills for this purpose.

37. Power to regulate production of atta

The Government may prescribe, by notification, the method of selection of a flour mill/atta chakki to convert wheat into atta/fortified atta for a specified period of time, conversion ratio not being less than 95%.

After issue of necessary notification in this regard, application for converting wheat into atta/fortified atta shall be invited in form ‘K’ along with affidavit as annexed to this Control Order.

38. Power to exempt

The Government may, if it is considered necessary for avoiding any hardship or for any other just and sufficient reason, exempt any person or class of persons, the operation of all or any of the provisions of this order, either generally or for any specified period, by notification in the official Gazette.

PART IV
Miscellaneous

39. Computerization of P.D.S.

Notwithstanding anything contained in this order Government has the authority to introduce computerization of PDS, digitization of beneficiaries database including supply chain management, FPS automation in terms of policy of the Government of India/ State Government.

40. (a) Penalty for contravention of this Order If any person/organization/contravenes any provision of this Order he/the organisation shall be liable to punishment under section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act 1955(10 of 1955).

(b) Procedure for disposal of seized Stocks

Any stock seized from the custody of an FP shop owner or Distributor for contravention of the provisions of this order shall be disposed of as per order of the Collector as per Section 6A of Essential Commodities Act, 1955.

41. Protection of action taken under Order

No suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie against any person for anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done in pursuance of this Order.

42. Repeal and Savings

West Bengal Public Distribution System (Maintenance and Control) Order, 2003 and subsequent Amendment being no.7044 dated 18.11.2004 are hereby repealed provided, however, such repeal shall not affect any investigation, penalty, imposition of punishment for any offence committed by the licensee against any of the provisions of the Order as if the said order had not been repealed.

43. Order not to apply in certain cases

Nothing in this Order shall apply to –

(a) Any State Government or the Central Government.

(b) The Food Corporation of India.

(c) The West Bengal Essential Commodities Supply Corporation Limited.

in respect of sale and storage for sale of stock of food grains and/ or public distribution commodities through Public Distribution System.

By order of the Governor,

ANIL VERMA, IAS
Secretary to the Government of West Bengal & Food Commissioner
Department of Food & Supplies

No. 2347-FS dated 08.08.2013