Free ration rumour triggers commotion in Chandigarh’s Hallomajra
Police dispersed crowd that had gathered near a government dispensary in the area, where 3,000 beneficiaries have been awaiting free ration from the administration for daysUpdated: Apr 27, 2020 23:05 IST
After Mauli Jagran, huge commotion was witnessed in a locality of Hallomajra in Chandigarh after rumours of free ration distribution spread in the area on Monday morning.
The police had a tough time dispersing the crowd that gathered there assuming that ration was being distributed near a government dispensary by the UT administration. However, no such announcement was made.
Police public relations officer (PRO) DSP Charanjit Singh Virk said, “As checked from the assistant superintendent of police (south zone), the incident was triggered by a rumour. As soon as we got to know, the public that had gathered was sent back. We will take legal action against those involved behind spreading these rumours.”
WAITING FOR RATION
UT department of food supplies and consumer affairs began free ration distribution to 63,616 identified beneficiaries on April 10 but in Hallomajra, approximately 3,000 beneficiaries have been awaiting free ration to date.
HT accessed a letter written by a para legal volunteer, Dalip Kumar, of Chandigarh State Legal Services Authority to UT administration on April 20 in which he mentioned that ration distribution in the area must be speeded up since it has a lot of poor families who are struggling to manage enough food amid the lockdown.
Area councillor Bharat Kumar said department secretary Vinod P Kavle had assured last Thursday that ration distribution will start from Saturday, but he still had no communication from the department.
“Such commotion was bound to happen since residents’ patience has been running thin. Most of the people living in Hallomajra are labourers and daily wagers who have gone unemployed due to the lockdown. Similar rush was seen earlier too but distribution has yet not begun. I request authorities to speed it up as it is already over a month and no supply has reached the area,” Kumar said.
However, when contacted, Kavle said that there was no such assurance from the department. “The date for distribution is being finalised after consulting stakeholders concerned,” he said, adding that 40,000 eligible families (63%) have already been distributed wheat and pulses in the city, and around 23,500 were yet to be covered.
Another department official anonymously said people should not fall victim to wrong information. “We issue distribution plan and coupons in advance before providing ration to any area,” he said.
OPPN QUESTIONS DELAY
Meanwhile, local Congress president Pardeep Chhabra questioned the delay in reaching out to poor people. “The UT must deploy additional staff and cover all areas as the poor are facing hardships,” said Chhabra, while saying that local BJP MP Kirron Kher had ignored the public in these difficult times.
“Kher, who should have come forward and stood shoulder to shoulder with the public, has been missing for almost a month now. It was only after the public started questioning her absence that she chose to release a video on social media full of political rhetoric and directionless comments,” said Chhabra.