The Punjab government's new atta-dal scheme is getting an overwhelming response in Sangrur district as the number of applicants seeking to avail it is increasing day by day.
Officials of the district administration are working hard to finalize the list of beneficiaries as they have received about 1.66 lakh applications for the new scheme till date.
Following the directions from the higher authorities, the officials in the district administration are busy verifying the applications sent to them.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Sangrur deputy commissioner Indu Malhotra said, "We have received about 1.66 lakh applications for the new atta dal scheme and the scrutiny is underway. We cannot tell how many people will be inducted into the new scheme"
An official in the deputy commissioner's office, requesting anonymity, said, "It (scrutiny of applications) is a long process and it may take months to prepare the final list of beneficiaries".
"Also, due to shortage of staff, the process of verification of 1.66 lakh applications is a big task for us. We don't know what the government wants to do as they now want to accommodate more families, including the land holders, under the new atta-dal scheme", he added.
Expressing apprehensions about the success of the scheme, another official in the district food and supply department said, "As the (Lok Sabha) elections are approaching, it seems that the government has announced this scheme to woo the voters. They may give one or two months' ration to the beneficiaries and I don't think that the scheme will continue after the elections".
When contacted, district food and supplies controller (DFSC), Manish Narula said that at present, about 88,000 families from the district are getting the benefit of the atta-dal scheme, which also include about 45 per cent of all AAY (Antyodya Ann Yojna) ration card holders and BPL card holders of the district.
According to sources, in order to take more benefits from the Centre under the National Food Security Act scheme, the state government is planning to extend the benefit of the new atta-dal scheme to the maximum people ahead of the parliamentary elections.