Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has extended the deadline to link Aadhaar numbers with Public Distribution System (PDS) to August 31, failing which beneficaries will not be able to avail their ration from September, an official said.
The deadline was extended from July 31 as over 34 lakh PDS beneficiaries in the state are yet to undertake the mandatory linking, he said.
"The food security beneficiaries are urged to link their Aadhaar numbers with the ration cards by August 31," said Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister R P Swain.
He said people without Aadhaar cards have to apply for it and submit their application numbers to avail ration.
"People can deposit copies of their Aadhaar and ration cards at the nearest PDS outlet and avail free linking," he said.
The department has also asked the district collectors to facilitate Aadhaar linking with ration cards.
The state government said the linking will root out bogus PDS beneficiaries.
"There are fake ration cards in circulation. Once the cards are linked with the Aadhaar numbers, we can stop duplicity," Swain said.
During verification, the department has found ineligible and dead beneficiaries in the PDS list. Some beneficiaries were found availing rations with multiple cards, the official said.
While 3.23 crore people in Odisha are covered under National Food Security Act (NFSA), 24.98 lakh people are enrolled under State Food Security Scheme (SFSS).