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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fair price shops set for image makeover


VILLUPURAM: The very concept of the fair price shop is changing in Villupuram district with the introduction of the self-service system and an ambience similar to that of a private supermarket.

The Cooperative Department in the district has decided to refurbish the image of fair price shops and allow card-holders to walk into the redesigned shops and pick up stuff of their choice.

Joint Registrar of Cooperative Societies K.C. Ravichandran told The Hindu that card-holders were of the opinion that weighing is generally not done properly. Therefore, he introduced transparency in the functioning of the fair price shop by allowing the card-holders to measure and weigh their requirements themselves.

Moreover, data relating to the cardholders had been fed into a computer that would display all details on the click of a button. Computerised billing was also being done.

The experiment which started at the Thiruvennainallur fair price shop would be extended to 10 more shops at Kallakurichi, Tindivanam and other places.

Mr. Ravichandran said that a mini-supermarket had been attached to the model fair price shop where packed commodities were being sold at less-than-market prices. He hoped the strategy would introduce the ambience of a supermarket to the rural people. However, Mr. Ravichandran categorically said the new system was meant only for shopping convenience and no element of compulsion was involved in the purchase of goods. The department would have to spend about Rs. 20,000 for the makeover of each shop by fixing false ceiling, wooden or granite racks, and so on. Collector R. Palanisamy had received an encouraging feedback from card-holders during a recent visit to the shop, Mr. Ravichandran added.

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