The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Probe into ration for intruders

Malda, Dec. 9: District magistrate Ashok Bala has ordered an inquiry to find out how illegal entrants from Bangladesh obtained ration cards issued in the names of people living across the border.

Preliminary investigation carried out by the food department has revealed that a large number of ration cards had been issued to people living in Bangladesh, and are being used to draw items on their behalf from the public distribution system.

“I am aware of the situation and have asked the food department officials to carry out a thorough inquiry into the allegations,” Bala said. Investigating officers said the ration cards being held by Sasadhar Hajra, Berarani Hajra, Tapasi Hajra and Srimanta Hajra, who are all residents of Rajshahi in Bangladesh, are being used by their relatives who entered India illegally.

Four members of Anup Kumar Kundu’s family living in Ghatkoi village in Bangladesh’s Nowgaon district obtained ration cards about a year ago. Their quota of foodgrain and other items are being purchased by their relatives here.

Kundu’s ration card bears the number 946293 and his quota is picked up by relatives from the ration shop at Sarvamangalapalli. The Hajras’ ration is collected by people from a shop at Golapatti owned by Sukhdev Dey. The dealers say they are helpless as they are bound to distribute the ration against valid cards. The investigators said illegal immigrants from Bangladesh who settled in Malda got hold of ration cards with the help of political leaders.

Ashok Kundu is one such person who lives in Sahapur in the Old Malda police station area. Back in 1990, Kundu bought four cottahs of land in Sahapur for Rs 1.4 lakh and built a house there. His daughter is doing her post-graduation in history from Malda College and his son is an under-graduate student in the same institution. Kundu runs a grocery at home.

Ashok said he had come over to India for the sake of the children. “I began as a paddy trader, went on to rear milch cows and later opened the grocery store.” He added that local CPM leaders got ration cards for his family and put up their names on the voters’ list. “It is not true that we were forced to leave Bangladesh. I came over so that my children got good education,” Ashok said.

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