Kolkata: State Food and Supplies minister Jyotipriya Mallick said on Thursday that soon television, washing machines, refrigerators and similar electronic products will be available at ration shops across the state.The minister was attending a programme at Khadya Bhavan to mark the occasion of the availability of as many as 403 products of a leading retailer at 1,171 ration shops in North 24-Parganas district.The step is an effort on the part of the state government to convert ration shops across the state into ‘mini-malls’ so that people get access to products of leading brands at a much lower price. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life”We are beginning the project from North 24-Parganas and gradually more and more ration shops in the state will be selling such wide variety of products. Currently, 403 products have been made available and in the next few months, 600 products will be sold,’ a senior official of the department said. There are more than 20,000 ration shops across the state.The Food department had signed an MoU with Future Group at Bengal Global Business Summit this year, with the objective of ensuring Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedavailability of branded products that are sold by the group, in its popular supermarket chain across the state, at the ration shops.”Our primary objective is to ensure that people get branded products in their very neighbourhood at a price which will be at least a few rupees lower than that in the market. It will also be a stride in making the ration shops attractive to common people,” the official added.The minister later attending a programme organised by rice mill owners’ association and announced the formation of a three-member committee headed by state Principal Secretary Manoj Agarwal that will ensure that no rice mills in the state remain shut. “The committee will sit individually with the owners and know their problems in keeping the mills closed and accordingly take steps to open them,” the minister said.It may be mentioned that as many as 367 rice mills in the state are closed at present.”We want rice mills at every block in the state so that the farmers can sell paddy at the ration shops in their own area. If anybody comes up with a proposal for a new rice mill, we will offer subsidy,” Mallick said.There are 165 blocks in the state presently where there are no rice mills.