Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: While the deadline for linking Aadhaar number with ration cards will be ending tomorrow, as many as 31 lakh beneficiaries are yet to complete the linking process. After the deadline, only beneficiaries with ration card linked to Aadhaar will get subsided Re1/kg rice under the public distribution system (PDS).

Till August 3, while 2,85,22,459 Aadhaar numbers were seeded in the database, still 34,52,984 numbers were pending to be seeded against the beneficiaries.

However, since then no noticeable progress has been made and still 31 lakh beneficiaries have not linked their ration and Aadhaar cards raising doubts that they could be ineligible or bogus beneficiaries.

Speaking on the issue, State Food Supply Minister Ranendra Swain, said, “After Aadhaar linking, duplication is not possible. Those who will not link Aadhaar with ration, naturally they will be out of the ambit of National Food Security Act.”

On the other hand, the mandatory linking of Aadhaar and ration card is turning out to be a big problem for many beneficiaries.

After staying bed-ridden for nine years following an accident, Rekha Ram of Sankhapata area in Baripada is now worried whether she will get rice under PDS scheme as she has not linked her Aadhaar and ration card.

“I am unable to walk and my mother will not be able to take me to the place where Aadhaar-ration linking is done. So, I am worried that I will not get rice under the PDS scheme,” said Rekha Ram.

For beneficiaries like Rekha, the Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Department has rolled out plans, but ghost beneficiaries have increased their worries.

As per reports, there are as many as 6,05,805 ghost beneficiaries that have been identified. While such beneficiaries are getting rice, many complain that despite standing in queues, they have not received ration.

Abakash Rout, a resident of Banki, has alleged that he didn’t receive rice under the PDS scheme.

“Despite urging the BDO and sub collector, I have not received rice yet,” said Rout who met the Food Supply Minister seeking help.

District Food Supply Officer of Mayurbhanj, Kishore Kumar Patra, said, “Our officials are visiting different houses to raise awareness among people and asking them to link their Aadhaar and ration cards.”