More than 100 people waited in queue for close to two hours after staff of the fair price shop at Consalpet in Vellore delayed distribution of COVID-19 monetary relief on Tuesday.
The second instalment of ₹2,000, of the COVID-19 monetary relief amount of ₹4,000, and relief kits with grocery items were supposed to be given to ration card holders in the district from Tuesday. The relief is given to beneficiaries between 9 a.m and 12.30 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
There are close to 11 lakh beneficiaries in Vellore, Ranipet and Tirupattur districts and 1,821 fair price shops.
The relief was given to over 1 lakh beneficiaries till noon on Tuesday. “We came here around 6 a.m. and started waiting in the queue. But the staff at the shop said that they were waiting for Vellore MLA P. Karthikeyan,” said a woman waiting in the queue. There were also visually-challenged and elderly persons waiting in the queue since 8 a.m. “Though all the beneficiaries were wearing masks, there was no personal distancing. Had they started the distribution on time, the crowd wouldn’t have gathered in such large numbers,” said K. Kumar, a man who was at the ration shop.
Few beneficiaries said that such incidents should not happen in future. “There are many people with diabetes and blood pressure waiting for hours. Had they informed us that the distribution would be delayed, we would have come accordingly,” he added.
Officials said that instructions had been given to all shops to start the distribution on time. “We will look into the issue. Tokens have been issued to the public and they can come at the allotted time,” said an official. Meanwhile, officials from Mr. Karthikeyan’s office said that they did not ask the fair price shop staff to wait for the MLA to arrive to start distribution. “We in fact asked the staff to start distribution on time. We do not want people to struggle,” said an official.