R. Ilangovan

Drive against bogus cards eliminates many genuine ones

SALEM: The genuine ration card holders in Salem city are an angry lot today.

They have been punished for no fault of theirs when the Salem District administration, which undertook a door-to-door 100 per cent verification exercise, an ostentatious drive against bogus cards, during February this year, has ‘eliminated’ many of them. Supplies also were immediately stopped.

A “tardy and insincere” verification exercise has left many genuine card holders in a huff as their cards have been rendered invalid.

Following widespread public protest, the administration asked the left-out card holders to file ‘appeals’ citing that they were genuine and hence their cards should be made valid again.

But since a large turn out had thronged the offices of District Supply Officer, the administration fearing law and order problem just prior to the Parliamentary polls, decided to postpone the entire exercise.

It also advised the fair price shops salesmen not to suspend the supply to any card.

But the administration has now decided to resume verification.

A few days ago, Collector J. Chandrakumar issued a press release saying that the card holders under verification should fill in ‘appeal applications’ in their respective fair price shops on or before June 30 with necessary documentary proof for their residential addresses.

“But when I went to the fair price shop in my locality, the salesman told me to come on Monday after 3 p.m. since he had not received such forms,” said a card holder in Fairlands. “There seems to be a communication gap existing between the District Supply Office and Salem Collectorate, which on an earlier occasion also had led to many unpleasant things,” the card holder pointed out.

The proposed resumption of the door-to-door 100 per cent verification exercise, many insist, should be fool-proof this time.

A senior official told The Hindu that after the previous verification, the administration had issued ‘stop supply’ to 90,000 cards.