Deadline to surrender ration cards ends today

Bhubaneswar: The ineligible beneficiaries, who have fraudulently acquired the ration cards under National Food Security Act (NFSA), will have to surrender the cards by today failing which legal proceedings will be initiated from tomorrow.

The government, in this regard, had issued notice on January 1 to all ineligible beneficiaries to return the cards within 15 days.

Addressing the media on Thursday, Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare minister Sanjay Dasburma said cases will be registered against those who have obtained such ration cards by fraudulent means and did not apply for withdrawal.

“The government will initiate criminal proceedings against these people. Besides, market cost of the food grains taken by such persons shall be recovered from them as an arrear of land revenue with 10% rate of interest per annum,” he noted.

“In case of government employees, departmental proceedings shall be initiated against them,” the minister stated adding 1.60 lakh ineligible card holders have returned their cards so far.

With Odisha ministers facing ire of the Opposition parties over alleged irregularities in selection of beneficiaries under NFSA, chief minister Naveen Patnaik had asked district collectors to exclude all ineligible families by January 15.

Patnaik issued this direction through video-conferencing while reviewing the implementation of NFSA in the state on January 12. The CM also asked the district collectors to distribute the due quota of rice and wheat for the month of January to all beneficiaries by January 31.

Meanwhile, BJP alleged large scale irregularities in the central flagship programme and warned the BJD government of creating public awareness over the matter.

“BJD-led government has siphoned off the central programme by distributing the cards among its own leaders and party members. The BJP will create a public awareness over the irregularities”, Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan said at a press meet on the sidelines of the announcement of new chief of party’s state unit.

The ruling regional party also countered opposition’s allegation. “Out of 4 crore beneficiaries, 3 crore have availed the cards. There is a little mistake in the distribution process and measures are being taken to rectify it. So, what is irregularities in it?”, BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb asked.