Kolkata: The state Food and Supplies department will offer dealership to 1,500 more ration shops in the state, after the state Panchayat elections. “We presently have dealership of 21,000 shops. We will be giving 1,500 more in different districts across the state,” state Food and Supplies minister Jyotipriya Mallick said.Sources in the Food department said that self-help groups and cooperatives will be given priority in the dealership offer. “Offering of dealership to ration shops had been stalled since the Left regime. We are now opening it up,” a senior official of the department said. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsIt may be mentioned that for dealership, members of self-help groups will have to form a group with 10 people and then apply for the same. “They will be allowed to open up a ration shop in any of their residential premises. The government will not charge anything from the SHGs,” the official maintained. According to the official, the department will go for individual dealerships only when applications of SHGs and cooperatives fall short of the 1,500 target. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killed”We have found out that SHG women are very serious and dedicated to their duties and responsibilities. We are hopeful that the ration shops will function well under them,” he added.The decision of the department comes in the wake of a number of ration shops being closed due to various factors. “Some ration dealers have died while some licenses have been cancelled due to corruption of the dealers. People are being compelled to travel long distances for their rations. The new ration shops will be of great help to them,” the official said.Most of these ration shops will come up in the rural areas, while a handful of them will also come up in urban areas, as per plans of the Food department.The Food department’s notification will come up after the conclusion of the Panchayat elections.