The district administration here has finally cancelled 9,207 Below Poverty Line (BPL) cards that were issued to ineligible people in Panchkula-urban, which includes the towns of Kalka and Pinjore.
There were 13,181 BPL cardholders in urban Panchkula after a 2007 survey conducted by the Indian Ex-servicemen League, which was later found inaccurate. In a re-survey ordered by the Punjab and Haryana high court across Haryana, in Panchkula 9,475 BPL beneficiaries, a staggering 72%, were found ineligible in 2010-11. The district administration then ordered another survey that was door-to-door; and the figure came out to be 9,207, around 70% or nearly three out of every four.
Letters have now been sent to the departments of food, education, health and social welfare to withdraw benefits given to the ineligible 'poor'. As per the deputy commissioner, 1,011 FIRs should be registered against those who had obtained BPL status fraudulently and thus committed a culpable offence; not one has been registered so far.
In terms of money, a recovery of Rs 26.75 lakh has to be made from 145 families who had been given benefits under various schemes. It has also been found that from 8,322 cardholders, 49,617.4 quintals of wheat, 3,251 quintals of sugar and 13.9 lakh litres of kerosene have to be recovered. On the official front, disciplinary action has been initiated so far against 39 officers.
Also, 22 plots were given to the ineligible beneficiaries; so the administration has started the process of cancelling allotment.
Note, however, that on July 10, chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had said that benefits already given to ineligible people would not be recovered, except plots. This was contrary to the HC order which calls for recovery of benefits and also for penal action. As such, no order for stopping recovery from ineligible cardholders has reached the district level yet.