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Check on bogus ration card holders
- Next GoM meet on July 30

Guwahati, July 26: The group of ministers (GoM) constituted by the Assam government to chalk out ways to implement the Food Security Ordinance decided to constitute a monitoring mechanism today to prevent issuing of bogus ration cards in name of executing the ordinance.

Cabinet minister Prithibi Majhi, who heads the GoM, told reporters after the first meeting today that the food and civil supplies department had made a PowerPoint presentation on ways to implement the ordinance.

“During the presentation, the ministers discussed who could be included or excluded from the list of beneficiaries under the food security scheme. Income would be the sole criterion for selecting beneficiaries. In the past, there have been many cases of individuals enjoying benefits of the public distribution system by procuring ration cards allegedly through fraudulent ways,” Majhi said.

The minister said the alleged unfair practice of getting bogus ration cards would be done away with in the new arrangement under the ordinance.

In 2011, the state government had detected 1.38 lakh bogus ration cards, which were issued to individuals and families who earned good monthly income. Majhi said a strong mechanism would be put in place to ensure that ration cards were issued only to genuine beneficiaries in the future.

Chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Tuesday announced they would start implementing the food security ordinance from November 19 this year.

According to a preliminary estimate, the food security ordinance is expected to cover 75 per cent of the rural population and 50 per cent of the urban population in the state. The beneficiaries can buy rice at Rs 3 per kg and wheat flour (atta) at Rs 2 per kg. More than two crore individuals, involving 12 lakh families, will benefit from the ordinance. Majhi evaded a reply to a question from reporters whether D (doubtful)-voters would be able to apply to become beneficiaries under the new ordinance.

Though Gogoi said on Tuesday that the first list of beneficiaries would be published on August 1, the food and civil supplies department officials who attended today’s meeting expressed doubts over meeting the deadline.

Food and civil supplies minister Nazrul Islam who attended the meeting told The Telegraph that the next meeting of the group of ministers would be held on July 30 to work out more details to implement the ordinance.

Soon after the meeting, principal secretary of food and civil supplies Shyam Lal Mewara, had a video-conference session with deputy commissioners of all districts on how to implement the ordinance and asked them to be prepared for its rollout in November.

Mewara also discussed various issues relating to the selection of beneficiaries.