Civil supplies department launches door-to-door verification of ration card holders

The Civil Supplies department has launched a district-wide door-to-door verification of the credentials of ration card holders in the wake of repeated instances of diversion of foodgrains meant for ration shops, especially in West Kochi area.

Teams comprising rationing inspectors and taluk supply officers have been deployed for a fortnight now with directions to submit weekly reports every Friday. The first batch of reports are expected shortly.

“Officials have been asked to verify ration cards and whether the APL (Above Poverty Line) families are benefitting from ration cards issued under Antyodaya Anna Yojana or BPL (Below Poverty Line) categories. In such instances, steps will be taken to change the category accordingly besides slapping a fine for the subsidised foodgrains they had bought since the last date for the voluntary surrender of such cards. Also, directions have been issued to cancel the ration cards, which had not been used for the last three months,” said a senior civil supplies department official.

Recently, the department had deployed five squads for inspecting ration shops in West Kochi area and irregularities were found in 15 shops. Since the violations were not serious enough warranting cancellation of rationing licence, other appropriate penal measures were taken.

Civil supplies officials suspect the existence of a racket that bought PDS foodgrains from ration card holders for a certain price on a monthly basis, aggregated it, and then diverted them to the open market. “We suspect this to be one way of diversion. The last seizure of about 130 kg of foodgrains were recovered from a household in Mattancherry. The rice was found neatly packed in plastic sacks and not the conventional sacks used by the department,” said the official.

The Mattancherry sub division of the city police have registered five major cases of diversion of PDS grains in as many months. “There are multiple ways in which diversions take place. In some instances, ration shop owners themselves buy off the grains of card holders for a price and the latter provide their biometric credentials. Ration shop owners may also be diverting the unclaimed stock. There are also big and small intermediaries collecting foodgrains from card holders and then divert it either to rice mills or retail shops,” V.G. Raveendranath, Assistant Commissioner, Mattancherry.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2022 9:11:58 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/civil-supplies-department-launches-door-to-door-verification-of-ration-card-holders/article65761293.ece