The fundamental objective of modernising the rationing departments and computerising the issuance of ration cards is to weed out the bogus cards and stem the corrupt practises, said Sunil Tatkare, state minister for food and civil supplies. Tatkare was on an official visit to Navi Mumbai earlier this week. Soundwily ration shop owners, Tatkare said that his ministry would not think twice before cancelling the license of any shop owner found to be indulging in malpractices – be it issuing of fresh cards or siphoning of rations. Tatkare’s statement assumes significance considering that there have been complaints from aggrieved consumers, who have faced harassment from ration shop owners and rationing officials while applying for the renewed computerised ration card over the past couple of weeks. “Any consumer who has a specific complaint against a shop owner or rationing official can file a formal complaint with the zonal rationing department and immediate action in the matter would be taken to resolve the matter,” assured Tatkare. Most of the complaints have been related to the attachments that need to be given along with the application for the new card. While the official requirement is for a photocopy of any one proof of residence – rent receipt, electricity bill, telephone bill, passport or bank passbook – and a passport sized photograph, some ration shop owners have been insisting on a series of documents with a view to harass the consumers and eke out a bribe to process their application. “The application form is available free of cost at all ration shops,” said Tatkare. Speaking on the occasion, Tatkare said that computerisation of ration cards will not only weed out the duplicate and bogus ration cards, but also bring the bogus cardholders to book. “We are aware that a good percentage of rations from the public distribution system (PDS) is being siphoned by racketeers through bogus ration cards. The new system will not only ensure that the genuine consumers get adequate rations, but also save crores of rupees for the government,” Tatkare said.
August 22, 2008