Not all poor in Karlageri village in Gadag district have Below Poverty Line (BPL) cards. The elders of the village have come up with a solution: divide 30 kg of rice among three families.

“The elders decided on this because many poor people have not got their cards,” said Shankrappa Hugar, an elder in Kurlageri village. He said some of the neighbouring villages have also adopted the practice of BPL cardholders sharing their rice with those who don’t have cards.

“Why should only some people starve?” he reasoned. He added that 10 kg per family is not adequate considering their staple includes jowar.

The example of Kurlageri points to how the problem of exclusion continues to dog the Public Distribution System, even as the Anna Bhagya system has been introduced to provide rice at Re. 1-a-kg to those categorised as Below Poverty Line (BPL) families.

Even as rice is made available at a cheaper rate, there is a simultaneous attempt to reduce the number of BPL cardholders.

In Shimoga, from March this year, 60,862 applications for new BPL cards were submitted of which only 1,426 got cards.

Devaraj, a senior citizen in Shimoga whose son works as a serviceman in a shop, said the card issued for his family was cancelled during the drive undertaken for renewal, though he had submitted all the documents.

The 2011 Census identified 3,82,700 BPL families in Dharwad district, of which 2,64,408 have ration cards and 30,419 have Antyodaya cards. This has hit the villages that are already reeling under an agrarian crisis.

(With inputs from P.M. Veerendra and Dinesh Nayak)

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