Usually crowds at the Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA) premises comprise anxious professional college seat aspirants and their guardians. However, on Thursday, thousands of ration card applicants flocked the premises in Malleswaram in the city, where the Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs has been distributing ration cards for a week now.
The aspirants, who had applied online a couple of months ago, got the department’s SMS asking them to collect the ration cards at the KEA office. Though the department claimed to have streamlined the exercise, people complained of continued chaos and long wait in unending queues.
The department, which received more than a lakh applications for BPL, APL and Antyodaya Anna Yojana cards online between November 2011 and May 2012 from urban areas of Bangalore South, Bangalore North and Bangalore North Additional taluk, had begun distributing the cards from January 3.The officials had already issued over 25,000 applications in their respective offices and hoped to issue at least 15,000 cards at the KEA campus camp.
Deputy Director Narendra S.B. in charge of Bangalore Urban district said barely 200 of the 2,000 applicants had turned up at the camp for Bangalore north taluk last month.
“This is an unruly crowd. They will not understand the process,” he said, rubbishing allegations of department ham-handedness. “We had planned to distribute 10,000 cards till January 13. Due to the huge rush, we may continue to distribute cards even after the last date.”
Many people told The Hindu they had travelled long distances while others said they have made several trips over the past few days. They complained that there was no date or time allotted for different sets of applicants, prompting large numbers to turn up.
A visibly irritated M. Krishnaraju, a retired government employee and Peenya resident, said he had made three visits since the camp began on January 3 but was yet to get his card. “I am a diabetic and I have been waiting for over two hours now. Why can’t they distribute the cards area-wise?” People also complained that the department had failed to give clear instructions. S.A. Zubir, whose second trip it was, said: “When I went on Monday, the officials asked me to come with the relevant documents and stand in the queue. However, later they told me that there is a token system. How can they change the process according to their whims and fancies?”
Bharath V., a resident of Hegganahalli Cross, said he was not informed about the formalities and the necessary documents.