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Updated December 18th, 2023 at 17:04 IST

Food Department halts ration to APL cardholders amid quality concerns

The Food Department has opted to discontinue ration distribution to APL cardholders statewide, citing their reluctance to collect ration.

Prajwal Prasad
Karnataka: Ration supply halted over poor quality
Karnataka: Ration supply halted over poor quality | Image:PTI
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Bengaluru:  The government's decision to cease the supply of grains to APL (Above Poverty Line) cardholders has triggered reluctance among beneficiaries, with many expressing concerns about the quality of food grains. The Food Department has opted to discontinue ration distribution to APL cardholders statewide, citing their reluctance to collect ration. 

There are 24 lakh APL cards across the state and 80 per cent of the cardholders are not getting ration every month. Henceforth, new applicants will be issued cards separately mentioning whether they are for identity cards only or for ration. Those who get a card for an identity card will not get ration. 

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K.H. Muniyappa, Food and civil suppliers minister speaking to Republic said that, "efforts are being made to provide rice instead of money to ration card holders soon. Inspections are being carried out in Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to procure additional rice required for competitive prices. Officials have been asked to issue cards to those who have applied for a new ration card within 15 days. We are cancelling a few APL cards as they are resorting to buying food grains at lower cost from fair price shops and selling it at a higher price in the black market."

There is a proposal to reduce the expenditure on APL and give other ration to BPL ration card holders. For years, some people have been reluctant to get rations from fair price shops. The black money lenders are polishing APL card holders rice and selling it in the market at Rs 35-50 per kg. Thus, to prevent leakage of rations the government had decided to cancel the APL card. Now, the cards have been deleted.

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An APL card holder speaking to Republic on the condition of anonymity said that, "This government in a bid to find it's guarantees are cutting ration of the APL card holders. The quality of food grains supplied is substandard and sometimes we don't buy it, but that shouldn't be the reason to permanently stop the supply to us. The government should rectify this with immediate effect and should solve the proble at source.

District-wise APL card holders deleted!

Bengaluru 4,37,651, Belagavi 3,23,164, Dakshina Kannada 1,73,720, Kalaburagi 1,15,594, Udupi 1.15, 126, Mysuru 1,11,024, Shivamogga 1,03,347, Dharwad 95,973, Uttara Kannada 90,190,086,914, Chikkamagaluru 64,857, Bagalkot 63,573, Mandya 57,472, Bidar 53,621, Haveri 53,263, Davanagere 45,854, Chitradurga 44,454, Ballari 43,757, Hassan 43,281, Raichur 42,561, Gadag 38,666, Kodagu 37,198, Vijayanagar 33,320, Kolar 27,369, Bengaluru Rural 23,158, Chikkaballapura 19,281 cancelled.

BPL cards cancelled!

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Of the 1,16,95,029 BPL cards in the state, 3.26 lakh have not received ration for six months, the department claimed. The government has also issued instructions for cancellation of such cards. Lakhs of people suffering from serious ailments like heart problems, cancer, etc., have got BPL cards to get treatment in hospitals, pension and education under RTE and other government facilities. This has resulted in a loss of Rs 60 crore per year to the government exchequer at the rate of Rs 50 lakh per month for not taking ration every month.

Rajanna Kempapura a member of ration distribution dealers association speaking to Republic said that, "the number of cards held by fair price shops will come down if the cards that do not receive ration are cancelled. In addition, the commission money is siphoned off. Instead of cancelling the card, the department should take steps to distribute rice in large quantities at Rs 15 per kg to the needy."

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Published December 18th, 2023 at 17:03 IST

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