Ration distribution in lockdown poor

Ration distribution in lockdown poor

Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 2

On one hand both the Centre and the state government were chalking out elaborate plans for feeding the poor and the needy during Covid-induced lockdown, but on the other, ration received by the district administration from various sources from March to July did not reach the intended beneficiaries, which led to mass exodus of the migrant population from the industrial hub.

Over 10.5 lakh kits not accounted for

While data provided by State Covid Control Room said that over 10.5 lakh kits (around six lakh from Ludhiana alone), each costing Rs 800-850, were not accounted for from out of the ration provided under ‘Atam Nirbhar Bharat’, food grain and essentials received under the two other plans were also not fully distributed among the intended beneficiaries.

After gross mismatch pointed out by the State Covid Control Room in the figures of ration supplied to the district authorities and details of distribution provided by the administration, a blame game has commenced with the ruling party functionaries now passing the buck to the district authorities for the discrepancy, if any, in distribution of free ration to the poor during the lockdown.

Information gathered from various sources indicate that food grain and other essential items were received by the district administration through the Food and Civil Supplies Department under the ‘Atam Nirbhar Bharat’ scheme, smart ration card scheme and Pardhan Mantri Garib Kalyana Yojna.

While data provided by State Covid Control Room said that over 10.5 lakh kits (around six lakh from Ludhiana alone), each costing Rs 800-850, were not accounted for from out of the ration provided under ‘Atam Nirbhar Bharat’, food grain and essentials received under the two other plans were also not fully distributed among the intended beneficiaries. It was also learnt that undistributed food grain was still lying either in godowns or with the flour mills.

Surprisingly, the ruling party functionaries – legislators, councillors and office-bearers, who were holding public functions during the lockdown for distribution of free ration to the poor now claim that the onus for distribution of ration lied with the district authorities. “If there is some discrepancy, it is the responsibility of the government officials to put the record straight,” a senior Congress leader has said on record.

District BJP president Pushpinder Singal said from the very beginning, the party had been raising its voice against faulty distribution of ration to the poor while alleging that a large quantity of food grain and other essential items had found their way to the retail and wholesale markets through Congress leaders, especially councillors.

He said the district administration was also at fault in handing over free ration provided by the Centre to the ruling party functionaries for distribution. “It is due to political interference that the poor and needy people, including the migrant population, were denied food grain during the lockdown. The scam calls for a CBI probe so that the truth could come out,” said the BJP leader.

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