Reports on ration cards’ surrender ‘fake’ but no inquiry or action against DMs
Reports that people with two wheelers, tractors, generators etc. are to surrender their ration cards are ‘fake’ says the UP Government but is unable to explain how DMs issued such notices
Following public outrage over notices asking people ineligible for ration cards to surrender them, the Uttar Pradesh Government has hastily explained that no such instruction were given to the districts.
But by then several District Magistrates had already issued orders asking ineligible consumers to surrender their ration cards by May 20 or face punitive measures.
State Food Commissioner Saurav Babu told the media that false reports are being circulated in sections of the media about cancellation of ration cards or people being asked to surrender their ration cards.
“No fresh orders have been issued. The last order issued was in October 7, 2014 and no new order has been issued since then,” he claimed.
But if no new order was issued, how did District Magistrates and District Supply Officers issue orders asking people to surrender their ration cards if any member of the family pays
income tax, more than one member holds an arms license or if a member has an annual income of more than Rs 3 lakh in urban areas and Rs 2 lakh in rural areas, or he /she owns a house, flat or commercial space of area more than 100 sq feet. Families who own a four-wheeler/tractor/harvester/an air-conditioner or generator set at home were also deemed to be ineligible to hold ration cards, according to such notices.
“I have no idea about any such order issued at the district level. The Food and Civil Supplies department has issued no such order. Moreover, no card holder can be declared ineligible on the basis of having a pucca house or having an electricity connection or motorcycle,” he said.
Minister of State of Food and Civil Supplies Satish Sharma said that government has no intention of debarring bonafide consumers from the Public Distribution System. “Till May 22 we have 14.93 crore ration card holders and no direction has been issued asking people to surrender their ration cards,” the minister also reiterated.
He explained that every year new names are added to the list and some names are removed because people die, migrate or climb the economic ladder and become ineligible. “This is a voluntary effort, no government order is issued,” he claimed, adding that the department does carry out surveys if it receives complaints. In 2017 the Yogi government had carried out a campaign against bogus ration cards under which 27 lakh ration cards were cancelled, he recalled.
Will the government then inquire or take action against district officials who issued the misleading notices and created confusion? “Will the government order an enquiry or ask for an explanation,” the minister was asked.
Sharma said that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will take a call on this. Yogi holds Food and Civil Supply ministry besides the charge of 31 other departments.