The surveys being conducted to weed out the so-called “bogus” ration cards were themselves “bogus”, said representatives of political parties at the city-level Food Advisory Committee meeting held here on Sunday.
Leaders of the Left and other Opposition parties brought up several issues related to the public distribution system during the meeting. CPI (M) corporator Ch. Babu Rao pointed out that 70 per cent of the ration cards weeded out as bogus by the officials turned out to be genuine cards in a resurvey.
Mr. Babu Rao presented evidence to prove that owners of push-carts used by vendors, auto-rickshaw drivers and others like them were grouped under “owners of four-wheelers” and made ineligible for ration cards. Similarly, people living in thatched houses and houses of less than 50 square yards of area have been put in the category of people owning houses with a plinth area of more than 750 square feet and made ineligible. He said that a demand was made to take action against officials if the cards they weeded out were found to be genuine in a resurvey. The officials said they would initiate legal proceedings against ineligible persons who had re-applied for ration cards.
The plight of 6,000 applicants who were not being given rations because their data had vanished without a trace from the data bank was also highlighted by Mr. Babu Rao. The cancellation of kerosene supply to 22,000 Deepam beneficiaries who were being earlier given two litres, the reduction of sugar quota to half, the price of red gram and short supply of wheat through fair price shops were also highlighted at the meeting.
Joint Collector B. Ramaiah maintained that no genuine card was weeded out. Of the 24,811 objections received, enquiry remained to be conducted in respect of only 5,797. He said that rations were given to 26,000 people who submitted their objections to the weeding out of their cards.
Vijayawada Central MLA Malladi Vishnu, CPI city secretary K. Subba Raju and others were present.