Cong, BJP MLAs grill minister over delay in issuing BPL cards

Food and Civil Supplies Minister U T Khader on Thursday could not give a satisfactory reply to members of the ruling and the Opposition parties in the Legislative Assembly regarding the confusion and delay in issuing ration cards for the poor.

Replying to questions by Mohiuddin Bava (Congress), the minister first said there is no need for producing any supporting document to get ration card by those belonging to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category. Later, he said providing Aadhaar number is sufficient to get the card.

Khader said nearly 14.70 lakh applicants have sought ration cards. The same would be attended to in the next four months. The process has been made easier now as no supporting document is sought for issuing the cards, he said. In the written reply, he had said providing Aadhaar numbers of all the members of the family is mandatory.

This confusing statement was sufficient for the BJP members to grill the minister. Bava said the applicants are finding it tough to seed Aadhaar numbers and hence the ration cards are being denied by the Food and Civil Supplies department.

Later, Leader of the Opposition Jagadish Shettar, Basavaraj Bommai, V Sunil Kumar (all BJP) among others said the ration card or BPL card is linked to various other welfare schemes including the Vajpayee health scheme under which free medical treatment is given for the poor. Hence, the government must speed up the process of distributing the cards, they insisted.

Shettar said in each taluk not less than 50,000 applicants are waiting for the ration cards.

“In Bengaluru South, a food inspector was found issuing 5,000 bogus ration cards. Anurag Tewari, IAS officer who was serving as Commissioner, Food and Civil Supplies department, wanted the government to suspend the inspector. Till now, no action has been taken in this regard,” he pointed out.

Khader said, “We have created a history by streamlining the system of issuing ration cards. We have done what could not be done in the last 25 years.”

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