AAP Accuses Centre Of Cancelling 2.9 Lakh Ration Cards Without Proper Inspection
The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government is caught up in a fresh tussle with the bureaucracy as on August 20, the Delhi government alleged that Food Commissioner Mohanjeet Singh has decided to cancel over 2.9 lakh ration cards without carrying out a proper inspection.
Ration cards cancelled without verification
Reportedly, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has expressed his displeasure and warned that strict action against the officers would be taken. According to NDTV, in a statement, the Delhi government said, “Since these officers do not report to the elected government, therefore they are working against the interests of the people of Delhi, which is a very serious matter.”
Moreover, the statement said that the department’s officers have “failed” to take into account the repercussions of such a move which covers more than 10 lakh beneficiaries. “All such families and members in one go would be rendered hungry because of the insensitive, apathetic, hostile, inhuman attitude of the officers,” said the statement. The government also alleged that the decision to cancel the ration cards has been undertaken without conducting any field inspection.
However, rejecting the government’s allegations, Mohanjeet Singh said that 2.48 lakh ‘ineligible’ ration cards have been cancelled after following the “due process of law.” The issue of cancellation of ration cards has been a contentious issue between the governing party and the bureaucratic wing for some time now.
Ration card tussle
As reported by News18, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Imran Hussain in April alleged that Singh was “bent on” on cancelling three lakh ration cards without conducting proper verification. Singh has said that the exercise taken is going to cleanse the Public Distribution System (PDS) and will save rations worth crores of rupees from pilferage. Moreover, he has reportedly, also recommended restoring the E-POS (electronic point of sale) system which has been put on hold by the government.
Reportedly, in May, Mr Hussain wrote to Singh, where he directed him to restore the supply of ration for those who had not received ration from January to March. The department had stopped ration supply of people who did not get themselves registered with the department by then.
Spat with BJP
Following the government’s allegations, a new spat between the ruling AAP and opposition BJP has come to the fore. According to Hindustan Times, BJP leader Vijender Gupta on August 21 said that CM Arvind Kejriwal was backing fake cardholders. He also alleged that the government employed “corrupt” practices in ration distribution.
“The fake cardholders were depriving the genuine poor who had been waiting for years to obtain their ration cards. It is a deep-rooted conspiracy to help AAP and its workers by giving ration distribution rights to some private company. The CM is misleading public by shedding crocodile tears,” Gupta alleged.
Countering his claims, AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said that it was shocking to see the BJP defending the officers who are responsible for large-scale corruption present within the ration distribution system for so many years. Reportedly, the issuance of new ration cards was put on hold after Delhi had reached its upper limit cap of 72.78 lakh ration cards.