Political fight escalates on ration delivery plan
- Delhi currently has around 1.78 million ration card holder households which, according to government records, translate to 7.2 million beneficiaries.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow the Capital’s government to launch doorstep ration delivery, citing how crowded shops could potentially turn into Covid-19 “superspreader” zones and adding that the CM’s name had already been dropped from the scheme.
On Saturday, Kejriwal’s office said the Centre again “blocked” the Delhi government’s ambitious scheme days ahead of its launch, with Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal rejecting the scheme. The L-G’s office, however, said Baijal did not “reject” the scheme and only “advised for the constitutional scheme of things to be followed in letter and spirit”.
“If pizza, burgers, smartphones and garments can be delivered to doorsteps of people, then why not ration?” Kejriwal said in a digital news briefing on the contentious issue on Sunday. He said the scheme should be implemented across the country in view of Covid-19.
“In Delhi, a doorstep delivery of ration scheme was ready to be launched next week. All necessary tenders were completed, and arrangements were in place. It would have relieved millions of people in Delhi from crowds and long queues outside ration shops. For the last 75 years, the ration distribution system across the country has been looted by the ration mafia, leading to leakages in the system that deprive poor people of the food grains they are entitled to. Doorstep delivery would have been a revolutionary initiative,” said Kejriwal, citing his own days as a social activist and being allegedly attacked by people for his fight against “ration mafia”.
Delhi currently has around 1.78 million ration card holder households which, according to government records, translate to 7.2 million beneficiaries. Ration to them is currently distributed through a network of 2,000-odd fair price shops.
“The proposal has been turned down citing no approval from the central government. It is untrue. We have written to the central government five times, seeking their approval in this regard. Going by the law, we do not need any approval from the central government in this regard. State governments are capable of implementing such schemes. In March, you asked us to remove mukhyamantri (chief minister) from the name of the scheme, we obliged. We followed all your conditions,” said Kejriwal.
A senior official in the central government said: “The Government of India has not asked the Delhi government to not distribute the ration the way they want to. They can do so under any other scheme. The Government of India can also provide additional food grains for that, as per notified
Professor Nilofar Khan, who has 30 years of teaching experience, has been appointed as the first woman vice-chancellor of the University of Kashmir, officials said on Thursday. The order of appointment was issued by Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha in his capacity of being the chancellor of the university. She will be replacing Professor Talat Ahmad, who completed his second tenure as the V-C of the university which began in August 2018.
Given the spike in terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir and threats issued by various terror outfits, the upcoming annual Amarnath Yatra starting June 30 to the cave shrine at 13,000ft in south Kashmir is going to be a litmus test for the government. One of the most revered Hindu pilgrimages in India, the yatra is resuming after two years.
Jammu divisional commissioner Ramesh Kumar along with additional director general of police, Jammu, Mukesh Singh, handed over an appointment letter and ex gratia to the family of Rahul Bhat, a migrant Kashmiri Pandit government employee who was gunned down in the Valley recently. A financial assistance of ₹5 lakh was also handed over to the family. Jammu deputy commissioner Avny Lavasa had also accompanied Kumar.
Following the conviction of banned JKLF chief Yasin Malik by a Delhi court in a terror funding case on Thursday, wife of late Squadron Leader Ravi Khanna, Shalini Khanna, said she was confident of getting justice for Yasin Malik. “Bad deeds lead to bad outcomes,” said the 70-year-old, while demanding Malik be sent to the gallows. Squadron leader Khanna was shot 27 times with an AK assault rifle.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Thursday claimed to have solved the Baramulla grenade attack case on a liquor shop with the arrest of four Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists and a terror associate. The police identified the four militants as Shahid Showkat Bala, Safeer Ahmad Mir, Moh Maroof Saleh and Faisal Shaban Gojri, all residents of Baramulla while their associate Hatif Ahmad Sofi was from Arampora.