Mamata Banerjee govt plans drive to deliver ration cards
The Mamata Banerjee government has decided to initiate a special drive to deliver ration cards to nearly three lakh beneficiaries who didn’t receive the same in the past few months.
The drive has been planned ahead of the next Duare Sarkar camps scheduled for January next year.
Earlier this year, the food and supplies department had tried to deliver 3,08,471 ration cards to the beneficiaries after the postal department returned those cards saying those could not be provided because of faulty addresses.
“In the first phase, the food and supplies department had sent 1,95,321 cards to districts to distribute those through ration shops. But only 9,266 cards could be delivered. In the second phase, another 1,13,150 cards were sent to the districts in October. The officials are yet to start the process for the cards sent in the second phase,” said a senior government official.
In such a situation, the food and supplies department is trying to complete the process of distribution of the cards to the beneficiaries as the next Duare Sarkar camps are to be held in January next year.
“If the cards are not distributed before the camps, the beneficiaries who are yet to receive the cards would visit the camps and apply for fresh cards once again. This will make the situation critical as the application for new cards would go up and it would indicate the department’s failure in issuing new cards,” said another official.
According to sources, majority of the undelivered cards were printed when the state started converting old paper-based cards to digital ration cards. But these could not be delivered because of reasons like incomplete address and wrong phone numbers given while filling up the forms.
Delivering the new cards before January is also important as the Centre has fixed the deadline to link the cards with Aadhaar on December 31.
"Once the new cards reach the beneficiaries, their biometric data has to be entered through the PoS machines at the ration shops, which will be authenticated by the food and supplies department. So, it is a lengthy process that has to be completed by December 31, otherwise the beneficiaries can be deprived of their food grains," said an official.