Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: The government has concluded the integrated survey on white ration cards, an exercise that resulted in the removal of as many as 20 lakh cards which were found bogus.

With this, the number of white ration cards on which rice is supplied at a subsidised price of Rs. 2 a kg has been reduced to 1.86 crore. The existing 20 to 25 lakh pink cards have not been taken up for de-duplication under the survey, as subsidised rice is not supplied to families holding these cards. The removal of the 20 lakh white ration cards will save 40,000 tonnes of rice a month.

Civil Supplies Minister J. Krishna Rao told reporters after discussions with Chief Minister K. Rosaiah here on Wednesday that ration cards would now be issued by June 1 to all four lakh eligible families which applied for these cards long go. These families could not be issued cards earlier as the election code was in force.

The Minister said about 7.61 lakh applications for ration cards, which were still pending, would be cleared by August 15. Mr. Rosaiah is stated to have instructed the Minister to issue these cards positively in three months. Mr. Krishna Rao said that after the end of the survey, a bio-metric database containing 4.7 crore iris images was available with his department. This would be linked to the database being prepared by the Unique Identification Authority of India and could be used for implementation of Aarogyasri, Abhaya Hastham and other welfare schemes.

He said tenders would be invited for supplying standard stoves under Deepam scheme at specified rates.