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2.5 lakh ration cards cancelled without any reason: Kejriwal

Delhi food commissioner Mohanjeet Singh rejected Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s allegation and said the department deleted only “ineligible” ration card holders and that too after following “due process of law”.

delhi Updated: Aug 21, 2018 08:40 IST
HT Correspondent
ration cards,Delhi food commissioner,Arvind Kejriwal
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal warned he would take disciplinary action against the state food commissioner.(Sonu Mehta/HT Photo)

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday warned he would take disciplinary action against the state food commissioner for cancelling 2.48 lakh ration cards in the city allegedly “without any valid reason”.

Delhi food commissioner Mohanjeet Singh, however, rejected the CM’s allegation and said the department deleted only “ineligible” ration card holders and that too after following “due process of law”.

Kejriwal’s attack and the food commissioner’s rebuttal appear to have again set the stage for another round of tussle between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Delhi’s bureaucracy.

The chief minister’s office, in a statement, said Singh allegedly cancelled the ration cards despite “strong objection” from state food and civil supplies minister Imran Hussain.

“Since these officers do not report to the elected government, therefore they are working against the interests of the people of Delhi, which is a very serious matter. All such families and members in one go would be rendered hungry because of the insensitive, apathetic, hostile, inhuman attitude of the officers,” the statement said.

“Such acts of commission or omission make the acts of public servants suspicious. Their conduct may invite disciplinary action against the concerned officers,” the statement said.

The food commissioner, meanwhile, claimed the exercise was “one of the first of its kind” in the country and would save ration worth crores of Rupees. “For the first time Delhi’s public distribution system has been cleansed and sanitised. As a result, ration worth crores have been saved from pilferage,” Singh said.

Singh added that he had recommended the restoration of the e-POS (electronic point of sale) system, which the government had put on hold. The government said that due to poor Internet connectivity, e-POS machines were working only intermittently.

The cancellation of ration cards has remained a thorny issue between the political leadership and the bureaucracy for a while. In April, food minister Hussain had alleged Singh was “bent on” cancelling three lakh ration cards without proper verification. In May, Hussain wrote to Singh, directing him to restore the supply of ration to those who have not received it from January to March. The department had stopped distribution of ration to people who had not gotten got themselves verified by food and supplies officers.

First Published: Aug 21, 2018 03:39 IST