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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

APL ration cards may be invalid, says minister

Malda, 15 March, 2015: At least 37 percent of ration cards for citizens above poverty line (APL) would not be of much utility as the state government would take up only the BPL (below poverty line) ration cards for digitalization for the food security bill is implemented in the state. Informing this state food supply minister Jyotipriya Mullick said that Rs 120 crore would be spent for digitalization of ration cards to be distributed within October this year.

Mr Mullick was in Malda yesterday to hold a meeting with the district administration in old circuit house. “There are approximately 9.,13 crore ration card holders in the state. But it is often found that 3.12 crore APL ration card holders do not collect subsidized food and other items provided through fair price shops. Hence, according to food security bill those APL ration cards would virtually be cancelled. Though the state government believes that all ration card holder should have the right of collecting subsidized goods available through rationing system,” the minister said.



The distribution of digitalized ration cards would start in south Dinajpur district first. Thereafter digitalized ration cards would be distributed in Malda and other districts in North Bengal as learnt from the minister.

Mr Mullick claimed that West Bengal would be the first state to distribute digitalized ration cards in the country. “For digitalization of each card Rs 4.20 would be spent. Out of the total estimated digitalization cost of Rs 120 crore, the Union government is supposed to bear fifty percent. But the state has not yet received any amount from Delhi. We are pursuing the matter in Delhi,” he informed.

He added that 99 lakh fake ration cards were detected and cancelled. “There are still few thousands in the state. Vigilance would start drive against such fake ration cards soon,” the minister said.

The minister also met the rice mill owners of the district at the circuit house and assured them that their dues of Rs 24 crore would be shortly paid off. Blaming the Union government for the delay in releasing Rs 1200 crore, the food minister said that the state government could not purchase rice directly from the farmers as minimum assisted price was not offered by the Narendra Modi government yet.

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