Staff Reporter

There are 170,598 bogus cards in Delhi, of which 141,978 are APL and 28,620 BPL, says Arvind Kejriwal

Most of those in whose names the cards are issued not aware of it

A big loss due to bogus distribution of wheat, rice, sugar and kerosene

NEW DELHI: Manju, a resident of Jasaula village in Badarpur here, has set a record of a different kind: instead of one, she has 109 ration cards in her name.

Lakshmi, a resident of Ali Vihar in the same constituency, has 68 ration cards allotted to her and there are 131 others who have more than 15 ration cards assigned against their names in the same circle.

These findings were thrown up during computerisation of the entire lot of ration card holders in the city by the Food and Civil Supplies Department.

Referring to the duplicity of ration cards in the Capital as a massive “scam”, Arvind Kejriwal of Parivartan, a non-government organisation, said the Government should initiate an inquiry into the case by an independent agency like the Central Bureau of Investigation.

“It is absolutely shocking. There are 170,598 bogus cards in the city, of which 141,978 are above poverty line (APL) and 28,620 below poverty line (BPL) and Antodaya category cards. There are about 15 lakh APL and 4 lakh BPL cards in Delhi, which means 10 per cent of the total cards are bogus,” said Mr. Kejriwal at a press conference on Monday.

“We went to some ration card holders who have multiple ration cards against their names in Sunder Nagari and found that some of these people do not have even a single card and most were not aware that several ration cards had been allotted in their names,” he added.

Suspecting a nexus between the shopkeepers and civic officials, Mr. Kejriwal said there was a need to investigate the scam that has led to a huge loss of money and food supplies.

“Shop owners and officials have actively colluded to commit the fraud; bogus cards were made by them and are in their possession. But there seems to be some bigger players involved. For instance, Manju has 109 cards and these are distributed among 43 ration shops and 69 kerosene shops. One wonders how these people collaborated to get these cards,” Mr. Kejriwal said.

Parivartan claims the number of bogus cards varies from constituency to constituency. “This needs to be studied too. Why is it that Najafgarh has 17,016, the maximum number of bogus cards, while Moti Nagar has none?” asked Mr. Kejriwal. He further stated that “merely cancelling the cards or taking action against petty shop owners will not be enough, this needs a thorough investigation.”

According to the estimates presented by Parivartan, since these bogus cards have been in existence for the past four years, there has been a loss of Rs. 259.5 crore owing to bogus distribution of wheat, rice, sugar and kerosene.

“About 25 kg of wheat and 10 kg of rice are provided on each ration card. Almost 2 lakh tonnes of wheat and 82,000 tonnes of rice have been diverted in these four years. These bogus cards have been reflected in the computer list only because strict matching of names was followed, for instance Afsana, Jasaula Village, and Afsana, Village Jasaula, have been treated as different people. If these were treated as same, the total number of bogus cards would be more than 3.5 lakh,” Mr. Kejriwal said.