| Stock of subsidised rice for public distribution at a warehouse in Kendrapara. Telegraph picture |
Kendrapara, Aug. 1: Dead have come alive here to receive doles of public distribution system (PDS). Several government-sponsored schemes for people belonging to the below-poverty-line (BPL) category are marred by a series of discrepancies in this district.
The administration has ordered a probe into the how the name of many ghost beneficiaries came up in the list of PDS receivers.
The Rs 2-per-kg rice and free-rice schemes for the poor people, which forms part of the Antyodaya Yojana, have allegedly become instruments of PDS ration loot for many. Most of the irregularities are being made in the name of the dead people. Radhashyam Rout of Chanchol village in the limits of Patkura police station must be turning in his grave now. Though he died some nine years ago, rice is still being collected at Rs 2-per-kg against his BPL card No. 556341.
Another such person is Indramani Rout (BPL card No. 556322). Though she died three years ago, she still figures in the list of PDS beneficiaries.
“The district administration is flooded with complaints from across nine blocks regarding misuse of ration cards. There are reports of PDS commodities being lifted against the name of several cardholders who are no more. Specific complaints of this nature are being looked into. Besides, complaints have poured in with regard to ineligible persons availing benefits of subsidised food grains under the PDS quota. These allegations are also being looked into,” said Pratap Chandra Mishra, sub-collector, Kendrapara.
“As holding a fake ration card is considered as an offence, criminal proceedings under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code will be initiated if anyone is found using such cards. Apart from the cardholders, action will also be initiated against retailers engaged in fraudulent practices,” said Mishra.
The district administration has already set in motion the drive to streamline the PDS network here by striking down the undeserving beneficiaries from the scheme of availing subsidised rice. In a similar drive undertaken last year, 978 ghost beneficiaries were dropped from the list of PDS consumers.
The deletion was done on the basis of an inquiry that had found 978 cases of irregular allotment of houses under Indira Awash Yojana scheme.
The administration has tightened the noose on bogus beneficiaries particularly in coastal tehsils of Rajnagar, Garadpur and Mahakalpada. Circulation of ghost ration cards was apparently done on a greater scale in these areas, though the rest of the district was also not free from irregularities of this nature, said an official.