In the first such exercise, the state government will detect and delete fake ration cards -- around 5 lakh -- registered in Punjab after physically verifying the credentials of each card. The process is likely to be completed by December.
According to food and supplies department sources, around 62 lakh customers have ration cards while as per census-2011 the registered families are around 51.7 lakh.
The department is sure to delete over 5 lakh ration cards prepared by submitting fake documents.
The issue came to light when the department uploaded the records of ration cards on the application generated by the union government with the help of National Informatics Centre.
State project nodal officer Parminder Pal Singh Sandhu says, "We are not in a condition to give the exact number of cards to be deleted at this stage as only first phase of the project has been completed."
He said, "Taking an initiative, we have printed the record of each ration card using only partial data, like family name and details, ration card number and their relations."
"Each inspector has been given the printed sheet for personal verification of each record. They have been instructed to approach each house in person and check each credential. It would also help us link the Aadhaar cards with the ration cards to ensure direct benefit transfer to the beneficiaries," Sandhu added.
The department claims to have covered more than 85% enrolment of Aadhaar cards and is determined to cover the entire population in six months, department sources said.
"People are making misleading complaints regarding Aadhar cards. Normally, they lose the acknowledgement slips and apply for fresh cards. It is also leading to hindrance in creating fresh cards. We are trying to sort out the issue and soon the whole population of the state would be covered," said Sandhu.
The department would also be required to issue fresh ration cards to those who would benefit from the newly introduced Food Safety Act, a senior official said.