Panaji: Although the state government has been pulling out all the stops to check the spread of the coronavirus, fair price shops continue using biometric machines for supplying rations to the people, heightening the COVID risk.
The civil supplies department had suspended biometric authentication for the public distribution system during the lockdown imposed in the last week of March. However, the order concerning the suspension of the biometric use was revoked on the ground that other states had been continuing using the machines.
However, there has been return of the biometric authentication in Goa. A visit to fair price shops in the city and surrounding areas brought to the fore that cardholders are asked to use biometric machines before lifting the rations.
Beneficiaries are forced to give finger impressions on the Aadhaar-enabled E-PoS machines.
This use of biometric machines could facilitate the spread of the virus as many people use the same device.
Moreover there is no measure in place at the shops to avoid crowding.
People managing the fair price shops maintained that there has been no circular from the department enjoining them to stop using the machines.
It is pertinent to note here that people have made several representations to the department pressing for a halt to the biometric use.
Expressing her apprehensions on using a biometric machine, Sujata, a 50-year-old resident of Tonca, said, “I am afraid of using the machine because it may carry the risk of COVID transmission…”