No ration for all card holders

Increase in number of beneficiaries; shortage of food grains supply


 A random check up by this correspondent across all four revenue divisions of the State, revealed that the fair price shops are distributing less than the stipulated quantity of food grains to the card holders, especially the BPL cards. This is because of a huge gap between supply and demand of food grains in the State.

A BPL card holding family is entitled for 4 kg rice per person every month or a maximum of 20 kg rice and maximum of 3 kg wheat per month. But fair price shops have been able to provide only 50 per cent of the stipulated ration to a family.

The State Food and Civil Supplies Department has recently distributed 28.38 lakh temporary BPL cards across the State, as announced in the last session of the State Legislature held in Belgaum. There are altogether 1.6 crore BPL card holders and 52 lakh Above Poverty Line (APL) card holders in the State. The department needs 1.80 lakh metric tonnes of rice every month to distribute to all ration card holders.

“But the State’s quota of food grains from the Union government has not increased correspondingly. As per the Union government’s statistics, the State has only 32 lakh BPL families, and it fixes food grains quota to the State according to its figures. The State government has distributed BPL cards to 1.6 crore families just to earn the goodwill of people. As a result, the State is finding it difficult to supply food grains to remaining 74 lakh BPL families,” officials pointed out.

Sedam (Gulbarga) MLA Dr Sharana Prakash Patil, temporary cards have been of no use to poor people as fair price shops are not distributing them food grains properly. “The Government’s move to provide BPL families with ration cards has not served any purpose. The Government has just taken the political mileage by distributing the cards before the elections. Now it is not bothered to provide food grains,” he alleged.

Ramadurga (Belgaum) MLA P M Ashok said hundreds of people are complaining him that fair price shops are not giving food grains. “The Government has messed up the system. Before distributing additional BPL cards to people, the Government should have verified whether it can supply food grains or not to all of them,” he added.

Fair price shops are giving only 2 kg rice to a person against 4 kg. On many occasions people have protested. There is a huge gap between demand and supply. The Government is not disclosing this as it will be exposed, Hanur (Chamarajnagar) MLA R Nagendra pointed out.

Incidentally, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Halappa is also Chamarajanagar district in-charge Minister.

Chikkanayakanahalli (Tumkur) MLA C B Suresh Babu said as the elections are over, the officials are least bothered about supplying food grains to people.

However, the department officials claimed that there is no shortage in supply of food grains. “We have sufficient stock of rice to supply to all 1.6 crore BPL and 52 lakh APL card holders. We will take appropriate action if specific complaints are given,” the department Joint Director Parashuram said.

‘Enough supply to meet demand’

Food and Civil Supplies Minister Halappa, however, said there is no shortage in supply. “The State government is buying rice at Rs 18 per kg to meet the demand. All BPL families are getting food grains. Action will be taken If specific complaints are brought to our notice, action will be taken,” he said.

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