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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

33-lakh families wait for wheat

Jatinder Kohli, Hindustan Times  Jalandhar, December 29, 2013
First Published: 23:32 IST(29/12/2013) | Last Updated: 23:36 IST(29/12/2013)

Almost 33-lakh above-poverty-line (APL) families in the state, including nearly 5 lakh in the district, are deprived of concessional ration items under the public distribution system (PDS) this month. They have not received their share of wheat from the union government.

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Sources in the state food and supply department who have highlighted this problem have also said that the APL beneficiaries might not get their wheat quota until the Centre's verifying of cardholders was complete. Under the new initiative of streamlining the APL and below-poverty-line (BPL) ration cards online, the Centre wants to weed out ineligible families.

Earlier, when the online data of cardholders was matched with the city's census record, discrepancies had come to light. Sources said this has promoted the union government to go for another round of verification to identify bogus beneficiaries, so when in December, the families went to the fair-price shops to get rations, they were told the office concerned had not released their entitlement for the month.

A head of one of the families to not receive the ration items said even the entitlement for October had not been received. "We visited the fair-price shops repeatedly to ask for wheat but the owners said the quota had not arrived," the card-holder said.

A senior official in the department concerned revealed on the condition of anonymity that the parent agency, Punsup, had not received the month's quota for the APL families from the food and supply department. "When we get the share, we will supply it to them," he said. Earlier, Punsup was authorised to supply wheat to fair-price shops but now Pungrain will distribute atta (wheat) and Punsup will hand out dal (pulses) under the revised atta-dal scheme.

Asked to comment, food and supply department deputy director Karunesh Sharma said the government's survey was about 90% complete and the APL families would get their share of quota from the next month. "We will hand out the wheat entitlement for January and December together in January," he said.

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