The Ration Kriti Samiti is a network that has been working on rationing issues for the last 10 years in the slums of Bombay. During the last year a visit arranged by SSP to Osmanabad sparked off a series of exchanges between rural and urban groups. The main role of Ration Kriti Samiti is to get information from state officials, lobby for policy changes and support women's collectives to monitor the rationing system. 10 activists who attended the melavas shared stories and songs and experiences confronting shop owners and officials in their settlements.


INFORMATION, THE PRIMARY WEAPON
Laxmikant from SSP explained that information is the most important weapon that
we have. But unlike other weapons, this is one will not wear away with use. The
more you use information, the more effective it becomes and the greater its impact. All the experiences recounted at the information fair prove this to be true.


Using information to get BPL householders on the ration lists
A Mahila Mandal leader and a member of the Ration Dakshata Samiti of Vadval village in Latur explained that after she attended a workshop with members of Ration Dakshata Samitis and the block level officials and the District Collectors. After that, she visited the block office to find out more and to explain some of the problems faced in her village.


The Tehsildar helped her by sending a letter to the Talati asking that she, as a committee member, be kept informed on what action was being taken. The Talati
was also requested to deal with any complaints and problems. Following complaints from the village committee that shop owners were trying to keep some households below the poverty line out of the new lists of ration cardholders,
officials visited the ration shop to inspect the lists and remedied the situation.
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Getting Receipts
Shobha from Tugaon village in Latur attended a meeting at the district headquarters where activists from the Ration Kriti Samiti explained the rules governing ration shops in Maharashtra. One of the rules is that shop owners have to give receipts to customers. This was not happening at her local shop. When she asked for a receipt, the shopkeeper complained to her husband saying that it was wrong for women to behave like this.
She shouldn't have confronted him in public. When she got back from a ration melava in Latur, she realized
that she would get better results if she was supported by more women. She mobilised ten women to support her in asking the shopowner to give receipts. From then on the whole village started asking for receipts. The shop owner had no choice but to start giving every one receipts.




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