The Telegraph
Friday , December 11 , 2009
Since 1st March, 1999
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Promises fail to woo Lohardaga
- BPL cards elude beneficiaries while BJP vows rice at Re 1 per kg

Lohardaga, Dec. 10: The Lohardaga electorate will not fall for rosy promises this time.

Voters here want to know that even if the BJP’s promise to provide rice at Re 1 per kg was fulfilled how would the poor benefit from it since they did not have BPL ration cards.

Any political worker who visit this constituency is being asked by residents when they would get their BPL red or yellow cards. And if photographed by mediamen, they believe it is for their cards.

BJP president Rajnath Singh had recently claimed that the promises made in the party’s election manifesto would be executed in full. “It is our responsibility to see that every needy family gets 35kg of foodgrains and at Re 1 per kg, and iodised salt for 25 paise a kg. We have already implemented this scheme in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh,” Rajnath had said.

Foodgrains at subsidised rates are only source of survival at most places in Jharkhand.

Bhinsaria Devi (25), a resident of Kharta village, is one such example.

She was married at a tender age of 13. Her husband deserted her five years ago. Now she has two mouths to feed, her seven-year-old daughter and herself. Her only brother works as a labourer in Jamnagar but never sends her any money. She often works in a brick kiln for Rs 30-40 per day. Though she owns a small piece of land, her ailing father is unable to plough it.

Bhinsaria believes her woes will end once her dream to educate her daughter is realised.

For now, her only hope is the BPL red card, which she is yet to get.

Lohardaga sitting MLA Sukhdeo Bhagat said after a lot of effort, he managed to get 36,345 families BPL cards. Out of this, 19,000 have been given the cards. This apart, he was also educating villagers about the benefits of other welfare schemes.

“At all public meetings, I tell villagers that even young women should avail of the pension for widows scheme. But, Bhinsaria’s case is rather complicated and my hands are tied now because of the model code of conduct,” he added.

MLA Bhagat was virtually rendered speechless when told that a Mahila Samiti member had asked how she could provide ration to her family who did not have the card.

Other villagers said people like Bhinsaria had no other option but to work in brick kilns or cultivate others’ lands as there was lack of irrigation facilities here to earn adequate money to fend for their families.

“The vegetables cultivated by us were once in great demand throughout the year. But things went haywire after the state started neglecting lift irrigation system and laid more emphasis on check dams,” said Sukru Oraon, a villager.

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