Bhubaneswar, Jan 13:
The state government has expressed its helplessness over the issue of distribution of bogus ration cards.
Replying to a letter of the Accountant General that had expressed surprise over the inaction of the state government in initiating action against the erring officials who had distributed about 2.5 lakh bogus cards to beneficiaries, under secretary of state Food Supply and Consumer Welfare Rabindra Kumar Mishra has said the government is unable to take departmental action since it has no records of the officials who were entrusted with the task of distribution of ration cards in the year 1992.
“The department 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”, Mishra said.
It may be mentioned that the Food Supply and Consumer Welfare department, acting on reports of irregularities, had carried out a survey in 2011. By 2013, the department had seized about 2.56 lakh bogus cards.
Though the state government had directed the district collectors to take stern action against the erring officials, they have failed to take any action on the ground that they have neither the official records about the name of the officials who were assigned with the task of distribution of ration cards and nor the names of the officials who had validated these cards as BPL cards.
“Due to non-availability of records, the state government has neither taken any action and nor can take action against these erring officials”, Mishra said in his letter.
He has also apprised the AG of the inability of the state government in this regard to the Union joint secretary.
Talking to OST, secretary, state Food Supply and Consumer Welfare Madhusudan Padhi said that his department, as a corrective measure, had started the process of preparing new ration cards.
“The process has begun on the basis of the statistics of the National Population Register (NPR) for which Bhubaneswar city and Bhubaneswar block have been taken as pilot project,” Padhi said.
He also informed that the department had decided to renew the ration cards after verifying the data of the consumers at regular intervals.
“Under the new provision, any unemployed person is entitled to retain the card till his/her employment after which the card would be invalidated. Action would be taken against the concerned officials for any lapses in this regard,” he added.
He, however, made it clear that the department cannot take any action under the existing system.