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Kerala govt, WFP launch Rs 250 crore project to make ration shops paperless

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paper records no more?
paper records no more?

By NewsGram Staff Writer

The Kerala government, supported by the UN World Food Programme (WFP), has launched a Rs 250 crore project to ensure that the 14,000 ration shops in the state turn paperless, a Kerala minister said.

Speaking to IANS, State Minister for Food and Civil Supplies Anup Jacob said the pilot project in this regard has been launched and at the moment the computerization process has begun at 14 selected ration shops.

“We expect to finish the pilot project in a matter of three months and after that we will go for the state-wide implementation which we expect to finish in a year’s time. The funds for this project are not a problem as the Centre will provide them in instalments. Besides, the state government is also sharing the cost,” said Jacob.

Elaborating, Jacob said this is a project that will ensure that the state’s much-lauded public distribution system becomes more effective and transparent.

“As soon as an entry is made in a ration shop, it goes into the main server and gets accounted for in all concerned offices. All vehicles carrying food items for ration distribution would be monitored through a GPS system,” added Jacob.

The WFP is partnering the state government in its effort to improve transparency and efficiency in the delivery of food to 34 million people across the state.

“If this project to change the way food is delivered in Kerala is successful, it can be replicated in other parts of India. We are enthusiastic about this new project,” said Hameed Nuru, the WFP country director.

The WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger globally. On an average, the WFP reaches more than 90 million people with food assistance in 80 countries annually.

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UAE Expats Worry Over Resurfacing of Nipah Virus in Kerala

A total of 311 people from Thrissur, Paravur in Ernakulam district, and Thodupuzha in Idukki were also under observation

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UAE, Expats, Nipah Virus, Kerala
A fruit and vegetable vendor in the UAE, on the other hand, decided to stop importing produce from Kerala until the scare subsides. VOA

UAE-based Malayalis have expressed concern for their loved ones back home, as a Kerala youth tested positive for the Nipah virus, leading to a number of traders and travellers taking precautionary measures, the media reported.

Besides a Kerala youth being treated for testing positive for the Nipah virus (NiV), state Health Minister K.K. Shailaja on Wednesday revealed that three nurses who treated him, a friend and another person have been kept in isolation.

A total of 311 people from Thrissur, Paravur in Ernakulam district, and Thodupuzha in Idukki were also under observation.

Sharjah resident Sridevi Rajendran, who is from the same town as the infected victim, told the Khaleej Times: “He was in the same school as my son. We are very worried about the situation back home, and my son is there as well. Since there is no clarity as to where the virus has originated, people are generally tensed.”

UAE, Expats, Nipah Virus, Kerala
UAE-based Malayalis have expressed concern for their loved ones back home. Wikimedia Commons

The Nipah virus is transmitted from animals to humans; through contaminated food; or directly between people. It infects a wide range of animals and causes severe disease and death in people, making it a public health concern, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In 2018, a Nipah scare resulted in a temporary ban on Kerala fruits and vegetables in the United Arab Emirates, and a travel advisory to the South Indian state was also issued.

A fruit and vegetable vendor in the UAE, on the other hand, decided to stop importing produce from Kerala until the scare subsides. However, no official ban has been implemented yet.

“We have temporarily stopped the import of fruits and vegetables from Kerala, which make up 25 per cent of our total produce,” said PC Kabeer, founder and CEO of FarmChimp, a company that sells source-traceable produce.

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Kerala-bound travellers told the Khaleej Times that their trips would go as planned, but they would be taking “extra precaution”.

Marketing professional Anand Rajiv, who is flying to Kochi, said: “As long as I am not having local water or food from outside, I should be okay. Of course, I am worried about my health as it is not a joke.” (IANS)