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Know Your minister

An election later, Haroon Yusuf finds himself relieved of the job of transport minister. Undaunted, he has big plans for his existing portfolio-Food and Civil Supplies, and Industries — Yusuf tells Avishek G Dastidar.

delhi Updated: Dec 27, 2008 00:34 IST

As Delhi's transport minister, he was under fire for the BRT corridor and Blueline accidents. During his last term, the food and civil supplies department, his additional charge, was mired in the PDS scam, wherein multiple ration cards were issued under single names.

An election later, Haroon Yusuf finds himself relieved of the job of transport minister. Undaunted, he has big plans for his existing portfolio-Food and Civil Supplies, and Industries — Yusuf tells Avishek G. Dastidar.

The PDS scam happened during your tenure. How will you ensure this does not happen again?

I do not call it a scam. It was a fault in the system (of issuing and record-keeping of ration cards). I am the man who unearthed this fault and brought it to light. Yes, we were shocked to find several ration cards under same names. But measures have been taken to correct the fault.

So there was no human error?

There could be human error as well. We have set up an inquiry. But to make sure that such a thing never happens again, we have placed a central server at the food commissioner's room. He, now, has the technology to check any misuse of the system sitting in his office.

Pilferage and hoarding still plague Delhi's public distribution system (PDS)....

I do not agree that we could not check pilferage and hoarding. We raided edible oil hoarders when oil prices shot up. We conducted regular surprise checks at ration shops. These measures contained pilferage to a great extent.

But subsidised material meant for ration shops are still finding their way into the market.

In Delhi, it is not as big a problem as it is in other states like West Bengal and Bihar. As a new measure, we will put a GPS device in every carriage truck and a central monitor will track their movements. Any unauthorised halt on the way or delay will be put under the scanner.

Are you relieved that the transport portfolio was taken away from you this time?

Every portfolio is challenging and can invite criticism. There is no question of being relieved for not having the transport department. BRT is a new thing we tried out in Delhi. We are still in the process of perfecting the system. So some criticism was expected.