Food Department to follow EC’s system of booth-level physical inspection for verification of applicants’ details

Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies Dinesh Gundu Rao on Monday told the Legislative Council that steps would be taken to clear all the 14.02 lakh applications seeking Below Poverty Line (BPL) ration cards in the next two to three months.

Replying to a query by Bharatiya Janata Party member S.R. Leela, the Minister said: “We are going to adopt the systematic booth-level physical inspection mechanism being followed by the Election Commission to provide Electors’ Photo Identity Cards for verifying the details such as residential addresses of the applicants seeking BPL cards,” he said. This drive may last for about two months, he said while referring to the huge quantum of applications. Of the 14.02 lakh applications received online after March 11 this year, 11.62 lakh were eligible for BPL cards.

The Opposition expressed concern over the Re. 1-a-kg rice scheme coming in the way of distribution of rice to APL cardholders. The Minister said the Food Security legislation which will be enforced soon will eliminate the APL category itself. “There is no need to worry as our rice scheme is taking care of 70 per cent of the State’s families,” he said.

The Opposition wondered why the government, which was buying rice at Rs. 22.60 a kg from Chhattisgarh, was offering only Rs. 19.99 a kg to the State rice mill owners under the levy system. Mr. Rao replied that the purchase of rice from Chhattisgarh was only temporary and the government had called for tenders from rice suppliers to ascertain if they could supply rates lower than that of Chhattisgarh.