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Ration and voter cards to get death certificates

Tamluk, Sept. 18: The East Midnapore administration has asked civic bodies, panchayats and block development officers (BDOs) to issue death certificates only after taking the ration cards and voter ID cards of the deceased, the move aimed at checking bogus ration cards.

“We will inform the state government about the measure and how it can help check bogus ration cards. The district magistrate has sent circulars to the implementing authorities,” additional district magistrate Malay Halder said today.

This is the first time in the state that such a step has been taken, district officials said.

According to Halder, the civic bodies and the panchayats will ask those seeking death certificates to first return the ration cards and the voter ID cards of deceased persons.

“The ration cards will be sent to the office of the district food inspector, while the voter ID cards will be submitted to the district election department for immediate cancellation,” the ADM said.

“The step will hasten the process of cancellation of ghost ration cards. We cancelled over two lakh bogus ration cards, including 30,000 belonging to below poverty level-category people, in the past year,” district food and supplies controller Nabaraj Barua said.

Barua said the food and supplies department was incurring heavy losses because of fake ration cards. Recently, the state food department asked the district unit to seize the ghost ration cards.

“We demanded the list of those who died between 2008 and 2011 from the panchayats and the civic bodies. We scrutinised the list and cancelled their ration cards. In the second phase, we have started scrutinising the lists of the deceased from 2005 to 2007 and from 2001 to 2004,” Barua said.

“Our move will be used as a model in other districts too,” the food controller said.

The sahakari sabhadhipati of the zilla parishad, Mahmud Hossain, said he would monitor if the panchayats were following the directive. “It is a novel idea,” he said.

Chowk Simulia gram panchayat pradhan Chhandarani Das said she received a copy of the directive yesterday.

“In the past, we used to issue death certificates after verifying those issued by doctors. We had no authority to demand ration and voter ID cards. Now things will be easy for us. We will put up the directive on the notice board of the panchayat office so that residents become aware of it,” Chhandarani said.