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OHRC seeks report from Odisha govt on non-issuance of ration cards

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau

Bhubaneswar, July 25:

The Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has sought a report from state government over non-issuance of ration cards after 1992.

The commission has asked the commissioner-cum-Secretary, Panchayati Raj Department to submit a report in the matter.

In its order, the OHRC has said; “This is a general type of observation, which is governed by guidelines of Union government and state government. In view of this, the matter is beyond the jurisdiction as no specific case has been mentioned. But in view of the nature of complaint, when the NHRC has sent the matter to this commission, let a report be called for from the Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Panchayati Raj Department.”

OHRC issued the directive in response to a petition filed by rights activist Akhand. The rights activist had submitted a petition to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in this regard in February 2014, which later  transferred the case to the state commission.

Akhand had alleged in his petition “No ration cards have been issued to beneficiary families after 1992 in Odisha. During a span of two decades, the number of above poverty line (APL) families have increased in the state and they were denied the benefits of ration cards. Many BPL families are still waiting for their ration cards. While families living under the below poverty line (BPL) are entitled to get subsidized rice and other items distributed under public distribution system (PDS), the APL families get wheat and kerosene.”

The department of Food Supply and Consumer Welfare had issued the ration cards to the beneficiaries in 1992-93. Later, on publication of BPL survey list in 1997, it had validated these cards as BPL cards. So families having no ration cards are deprived of getting benefits of essential commodity under public distribution system (PDS) on subsidized rates, Akhand had alleged.