Ration cards of nearly 30% people belonging to Below Poverty Line category have not been renewed over the last six years

Hundreds of residents of jhuggi jhopri clusters from across Delhi converged at the residence of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Sunday to apprise her of the hardships being faced by them as the ration cards of nearly 30 per cent people belonging to the Below Poverty Line category have not been renewed over the last six years.

The protestors were led by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Election Committee president and former MLA Ramvir Singh Bidhuri. The Chief Minister hosted them in the lawns of her bungalow and assured that she would look into their grievance. Delhi Revenue and Urban Development Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely was also present on the occasion.

Mr. Bidhuri said while lakhs of people had deposited their ration cards with the Food and Supplies Department for renewal in 2007-08, about 30 per cent of them have not received them back so far.

Practise stopped

The senior Delhi politician said at the time of depositing their BPL ration cards, these people were issued receipts by the Food and Supplies Department on the basis of which they used to draw their rations and kerosene oil from the fair price shops. “However, during the last few years, this practise has also been stopped and these poor people are not getting the rations or kerosene oil through the public distribution system,” he said.

Accusing the apathy of officials and the politicians to be responsible for the present state of affairs, Mr. Bidhuri said when he raised a specific about the delay in the dispatch of renewed ration cards, he was told by one of the government officials that “out of these left out cards, nearly 212 BPL cards had gone for printing”.

‘Urgent action needed’

He demanded that when the scale of the problem was so huge, urgent action should be taken to ensure that rest of the left over BPL cards are also renewed and issued without any further delay so that the beneficiaries are able to draw cheap rations.

“Now that Delhi Government is giving a stove and a LPG cylinder instead of kerosene oil, it is important that these people are issued BPL cards without any delay so that they are also able to get LPG connections,” he said.

Responding to the demands, Ms. Dikshit said she would look into this issue at the earliest. She said for the benefit of the slum dwellers, the Delhi Government has launched the Anna Shree Yojana under which a cash subsidy for food of Rs.600 is being provided to those families who were hitherto not covered through the PDS system.

Ms. Dikshit also assured that in case any hutments were now to be removed from the roadside, the occupants would be given an alternate plot as part of the rehabilitation scheme. She said 200 unauthorised colonies would also be regularised soon.

Mr. Lovely said the Lal Dora of the villages would be extended. The Minister said to provide relief to the residents of the villages the norms of Section 81-A of Land Acquisition Act would also be clarified. This pertains to use of agriculture land for non-agriculture uses.

He also announced that the O Zone, which pertains to the Yamuna river bed, would be removed from the regularised colonies of Badarpur and Okhla. This categorization bars construction in the identified areas. In 895 colonies that have been regularised the concept of any of these zones does not apply.

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