State government to act against 16,300 bogus ration card holders

Food dept saves Rs 1.18 crore every month by weeding out fake cards

State government to act against  16,300 bogus ration card holders

As many as 16,300 card holders have been found possessing bogus ration cards, with the Food and Civil Supplies department initiating action against the same. By getting rid of these many cards, the department has begun to save Rs 1.18 crore every month.

The department which has begun a drive to weed out bogus cards from August 15, has been screening all citizens and BPL/APL card holders in the State. Every day, nearly 2,000 such fake card holders are surfacing.

Of the 16,300, 150 of them are government employees, with one of them being a veterinarian serving in Channagiri taluk, Chitradurga district. As many as 74 group ‘C’ employees, and 23 group ‘D’ employees were also found to be in possession of the bogus cards.

While a direction has been issued to all the departments to issue showcause notices to these officials immediately, the department has been either cancelling, suspending or converting cards to APL of other card holders.

Dinesh Gundu Rao, Food and Civil Supplies Minister, told the media in Bengaluru on Saturday that the department was setting a two-month deadline for individuals, including government officials, to voluntarily surrender their fake cards.

No action will be initiated against such persons. However, if the card holders fail to do so within the stipulated timeframe, then the department will initiate action against them from November onwards.

Rao said that there are 1.11 crore Antyodaya card holders in the State, and when compared with the population of Karnataka (1.35 crore - as per 2011 census), it becomes evident that there is a prevalence of several bogus card holders.

The department has adopted a three-pronged approach to screen all citizens of the State to ascertain who is in possession of BPL and APL cards, and also the genuineness of the same.

It began by ascertaining the number of families possessing four-wheelers. Those who own four-wheelers are not eligible to apply under the PDS scheme.

It also started gathering data from the Karnataka Resident Data Hub (KRDH), an offshoot of the Centre for e-governance, and the Human Resource Management System (HRMS), which captures the service particulars of the State government employees.

New rules
Rao said that the department had decided to frame new rules to also start the recovery process from the identified bogus card holders, where a provision will be made to book criminal (cheating) cases against them.

He also said that action will be initiated against food inspectors of the department who are found to be in direct collusion with the bogus card holders. A food inspector’s service in Gubbi, Tumakuru district, was suspended about four months back, as his family members were found to be BPL card holders. “We cannot however suspend all food inspectors - the department needs to function,” he added.

New cards
More than 20 lakh new ration cards have been distributed so far. The department has received 9,54,000 new applications for both BPL and APL cards and the verification process is on.

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