Residents of the district say they are struggling to get hold of essential items each month due to malfunctioning biometric fingerprint readers in most PDS stores. This, they say, often leads to arguments with fair-price store staff.
Essential goods are distributed through smart cards and the government has introduced a biometric fingerprint reader system in all PDS stores. However, cardholders allege that the scanners do not work properly.
Some of them said that most of the stores in the eastern and western parts of the district, especially those in Nadu Agraharam, Keezha Chinthamani, Vennis Street, Poosari Street and Malaikottai, are developing server issues in the scanner for more than 10 days per month.
Several complaints were filed with the Collectorate and District Supply Officer, but to no avail. V Vijayalakshmi, a cardholder from Poosari Street, told TNIE: “Every month, I go to pick up groceries in the second or third week. I went to the outlet around 11:30 a.m. last Friday. However, the reader d fingerprints did not verify cardholder prints, including mine. Waited a long time, but the machine was not working due to a server problem. Returned to the store the next day, but it didn’t work at that time as well. I was able to pick up my groceries only on Saturdays. The problem happens almost every month.
Another cardholder, S Vinoth of Vennis Street, said: “The scanner doesn’t work at least 10 days a month in the store I go to. Sometimes it works but it fails to scan our fingerprints. Although this problem persists, the seller refuses to distribute the essentials to us through the old billing system.This leads to daily disputes between us and the staff.We could not get the items for a few months because of the problem. The authorities should take action and set up the billing system as being ready.”
When TNIE inquired with some stores, sellers admitted to facing the scanner problem every month. “The scanner runs every day from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. It won’t work after that. But people don’t come until after 11 a.m. Sometimes we can only distribute essentials to a handful of people a day Moreover, due to the
biometric problem, goods are piling up in stores at the end of the month. We have informed senior officials.”