Telangana

Bogus ration cards pose a challenge to Telangana officials

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The total number of ration cards is more than the number of households in Telangana

It’s indeed ironical that the total number of ration cards is more than the number of households in Telangana! With the government repeatedly making it clear that bogus ration cards would be weeded out, officials in districts have begun the exercise. Here is a status report on one of the most difficult tasks undertaken by the government.

In Nizamabad, officials have begun the exercise of identifying the bogus cards, but there are some hiccups now. The Collector issued a warning that criminal cases would be filed if the double card holders failed to surrender cards within a week.

Authorities are in a confusion as to which process has to be undertaken to identify double or bogus cards for elimination as no one is coming forward voluntarily to disclose details of his or her card position.

There are more than 7.08 lakh ration cards including 43,000 Antyodaya, 1,100 Annapoorna and 60,000 pink cards in the district. While the number of households according to 2011 Census is 5.90 lakhs, there are more than 1.50 lakh cards in excess of the households, says District Supply Officer M. Kondal Rao. A large number of cards proliferated during the first three rounds of Rachhabanda programme with applicants being allowed to apply for cards online and saturation method was followed. Division of families, shifting of members from one area to another, doubling at border villages and increase of income limit for BPL families are some of the reasons attributed to increase in cards.

Mr. Rao says the problem has been acute in urban centres as in some cases there are not less than 20 cards under one house number with more families living under a single roof in different portions. Indeed, the problem arose with the government making ration card a necessary proof for many purposes such as ‘Arogyasri’, fee reimbursement and scholarship in addition to the ration, he adds.

Warnings issued

The Karimnagar district attained a dubious distinction in the State with record number of white ration cards which are more than the total households.

There are 9,76,022 households and the number of white ration cards is 8,38,746. Besides, there are another 1,01,953 white ration cards issued during Rachabanda programmes and 1,44,579 AAY (Antyodaya Annapurna Yojana) cards and 1,741 Annapurna cards, all totalling to 10,87,019 . On the other hand, there are only 1,00,204 pink ration cards, according to DSO Chandra Prakash.

Officials say 9,650 white ration cards have been surrendered so far after warnings were issued.

Fake cards abound

Thousands of bogus ration cards are still in circulation in the district taking a toll on the public distribution system (PDS). Source say there are 7,01,421 white ration cards, 61,252 AAY cards, and 1,641 Annapurna cards in operation in the district.

According to unofficial estimates, there are over 70,000 bogus ration cards including those in the name of dead and migrated persons in circulation in the district. The tardy pace of linking the ration cards with the Aadhaar cards has become a major hindrance in checking the menace of fake ration cards.

The District Supply Officer Gowri Shankar told The Hindu that a total of 7,64,314 ration cards including white, AAY and Annapurna cards were use in the district. As many as 12,500 bogus ration cards were eliminated from the PDS, he said adding that 70 per cent of ration cards were seeded with Aadhaar cards so far.

Cancelling in phases

The district administration estimates that there are about two lakh bogus rations cards in the district and plans are afoot to cancel them in a phased manner.

Of the total 9,79,821 ration cards in the district, there are 2,014 cards issued under Annapurna scheme which enables the beneficiaries get 25 kg rice free of cost. There were 81,516 cards issued under the Antyodaya scheme where the beneficiaries get 30 kg rice per month on subsidised price while the rest 8,70,945 are white cards where 4 kg rice is issued per head to a maximum of 16 kg per month apart from other essential commodities.

There are 25,346 coupon holders in the district who were drawing commodities from the ration shops under the Public Distribution System (PDS). “It was decided to link the PDS with Aadhaar cards as 98 per cent of people in the district got Aadhaar cards. It will help weed out the fake ration cards,” a senior officer said.

The administration in Medak district is expecting that there would be around 13,000 bogus ration cards and asked the card holder to surrender them before the end of this month.

There are as many as 8,48,432 ration cards in the district including 7,78,644 white ration cards followed by 68,173 pink cards, 16,015 Annapurna cards and 2,156 Antyodaya cards. While the total population of the district stood at 30,36,385 the number of population registered as per cards was recorded as 30,97,618. This shows an additional number of about 63,233. Assessing that each family will have about five members on card, the administration has been assessing that there would be around 13,000 white ration cards additionally in circulation.

Drop boxes were established at mandal offices so that who want to surrender them can drop them in boxes. Similarly, dealers were also asked to submit cards, if any, with them. All cards are being seeded with Aadhaar and those who have not seeded were directed to do so immediately,said District Supply Officer Mr. Yesuratnam.

Door-to-door survey

There are 8.76 households in the district, but the Civil Supplies Department had issued 10.68 lakh ration cards that includes white ration cards (9.27 lakhs), AAY (71,463 ), Annapurna cards (3,688) and pink cards (66,301). As many as 1,92,598 cards are in excess compared to number of households.

Following the Collector’s directions, officials have placed boxes at each of the 59 mandal Tahsildar offices asking the ineligible persons possessing ration cards to drop them in the box before July 25. The Collector also asked the ration dealers and MROs to submit written statements declaring that no bogus cards were in use. Later, the Civil Supplies Department will conduct a door-to-door survey to identify the bogus cards.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 5:33:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/bogus-ration-cards-pose-a-challenge-to-telangana-officials/article6229528.ece

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