‘Over 170,000 fake ration cards in Delhi’July 7th, 2008 - 10:42 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, July 7 (IANS) A rights activist Monday alleged that over 170,000 ration cards, amounting to nearly 10 percent of the total, in the national capital are fake and billions of rupees have been swindled in a systematic manner. “The Food Department recently computerized their records during which it was found that 141,978 Above Poverty Line (APL), and 28,620 Below Poverty Line (BPL) and Antyodaya category cards are bogus,” claimed Right to Information (RTI) activist Arvind Kejriwal.
There are nearly 1.5 million APL cards and 400,000 BPL cards in Delhi.
“All the figures have been given to me by a very reliable source,” Kejriwal told reporters here.
The Public Distribution System (PDS) comprises a network of fair price shops and kerosene oil depots for making available specified articles at controlled 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 has been siphoned off during these years.”
In one bizarre case, 901 cards exist in the name of Manju, a resident of village Jasola in Badarpur constituency. They are distributed among 43 ration shops and 69 kerosene shops.
“All this indicates involvement of bigger players… there is one person who actually owns these shops and he has put others as the face,” Kejriwal said.
Another woman, Lakshmi has 68 cards in her name at an Ali Vihar address in Badarpur.
Nearly 133 people in Badarpur constituency have more than 15 ration cards in each name, he said.
Senior Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan and former Indian Foreign Service officer Madhu Bhaduri were also present at the press conference.
While there were no bogus cards in Moti Nagar constituency, Najafgarh constituency had 17,016 bogus cards. Mahipalpur and Bawana constituency had 12,611 and 11,887 bogus cards, respectively, Kejriwal added.
The activist said merely cancelling bogus cards or taking action against some petty shop owners would not solve the problem, as the racket would start again with different people.
“Their modus operandi should be investigated properly. Unless the real brains behind the scandal are exposed, this will not stop.”