The Kerala government on Wednesday said the installation of Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) in all ration shops is fast progressing as part of the National Food Security Act to ensure transparent functioning of PDS. 

Tenders have been floated for EPOS to be installed in Public Distribution System shops and once the entire process was completed, all irregularities in PDS would be contained, food and civil supplies minister P Thilothaman informed the Assembly.

The minister was replying to a notice for an adjournment motion moved by the Congress-led UDF Opposition, which alleged that the PDS in Kerala has come to standstill and government has failed to check the price rise of essential commodities. 

Stating that Kerala has started distributing food grains under NFS Act, he said a pilot project started in April to provide essential commodities directly to ration shops, avoiding middlemen and to check diversion has been expanded this month to six more districts, including Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Kozhikode. 

The system will be introduced across the state by June, Thilothaman said. Under PDS supply, 1.54 crore people are entitled to 4kgs rice and 1kgs wheat free of cost, 1.24 crore people to 2kgs of rice at Rs 2 per kg, and 65 lakh people to 1kg of rice at Rs 8.90 and wheat at Rs 7. 

The minister denied the Opposition's charge that government had failed to check price rise of essential commodities and claimed that effective intervention of the State Civil supplies Corporation in the open market had resulted in price of rice and other essential food items coming down. Thilothaman also said there was no justification for the Centre to cut the state's share of rice and wheat under PDS and demanded that the Centre restore the state's quota of food items. 

Attacking the government, Opposition leader in the Assembly Ramesh Chennithala said PDS had come to standstill. The opposition members later staged a walkout in protest against Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan's refusal to allow a debate on the matter.