Delhi government orders probe into fake ration cards

July 8th, 2008 - 10:27 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 8 (IANS) The Delhi government Tuesday ordered a probe into reports that thousands of ration cards in the national capital are fake. An activist had claimed that over 170,000 cards, nearly 10 percent of the total, were bogus and billions have been swindled in a systematic manner. State Food and Supplies Minister Haroon Yusuf said: “Those found guilty would be brought to book and strict action would be taken against them as per existing legal provisions.”

Right to Information (RTI) activist Arvind Kejriwal Monday alleged that after a drive to computerize ration cards, 170,598 cards were found to be bogus. Of these, 11,256 were in Antyodaya category, 17,364 in Below Poverty Line category, and 141,978 were in Above Poverty Line.

“The Delhi government would leave no stone unturned to ensure delivery of food grain under its Public Distribution System (PDS) to the targeted beneficiaries,” Haroon added.

“It is also committed to expose nexus of food and supplies officials, fair price shop owners, and other PDS mafia with whose collusion these bogus cards have been made and operated over the years,” he added.

The PDS comprises a network of fair price shops and kerosene oil depots for making available specified articles at subsidised prices through ration cards.

The bogus cards have been in existence for nearly four years and ration has been regularly drawn on these cards, Kejriwal claimed.

“Since 25 kg of wheat and 10 kg of rice are provided on each card, almost 200,000 tonnes of wheat and 82,000 tonnes of rice have been diverted in four years through these bogus cards,” he alleged.

“If the subsidy on these products is calculated, nearly Rs.2.57 billion have been siphoned off during these years,” he alleged.

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