Administration plans to issue temporary ration cards to migrant familiesUpdated: Apr 16, 2020, 23:44 IST
In its effort to streamline the food distribution process in the wake of the nationwide lockdown being extended till May 3, the district administration is chalking out a plan to provide temporary ration cards to migrant families in need. The cards will be valid for three months.
According to officials, distribution of dry ration to those in need would help better utilise resources and avoid wastage of cooked meals (as they must be consumed timely in the summer). The administration, however, is facing the challenge of preparing a plan to avoid the duplicity of beneficiaries under different schemes.
“The proposal is to issue temporary ration cards to those who lack proper documents and are not covered under any scheme. Issuing temporary ration cards has started at the state level. We will accept applications and government employees will scrutinise them. Based on that we will issue the ration cards to avoid any duplicity of beneficiaries,” Mahabir Prasad, additional commissioner, Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG), who is also the nodal officer for food distribution, said.
Earlier this week, in a meeting with chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, the administration was directed to prepare a plan for the distribution of dry ration to the larger affected population. A senior official in the district administration, privy to the matter, said, “We have seen across the state that cooked meals are going to waste. So, it is likely we will only provide cooked meals only in shelter homes where they can be consumed timely. People who live in slums and colonies will get dry ration.”
According to Prasad, dry ration packets, including 5 kilograms of rice and 5 kilograms of wheat flour, are being distributed in different wards with the help of MCG councillors. “Councillors are distributing at least 100 packets of dry ration per week in their respective wards as they are aware of areas in need,” Prasad said, adding that dry ration packets can last for a week in a family of five persons.
Officials say the challenge is to streamline the distribution of free ration. “It is difficult to distribute dry ration randomly as all the members in a family can claim ration packets. So, it is important to have a list of people who don’t have a BPL card or are not any other beneficiary list. We give the ration to only one person in the family. For this process to be streamlined, a house-to-house survey, started by the administration, will prove beneficial,” Prasad said.
He added that the distribution of dry ration once or twice a week will reduce the burden on resources used to deliver cooked meals to six relief centres and 47 distribution centres across the city.
The administration is providing cooked meals to over one lakh people and dry food to almost 12,000 people. Vivek Kalia, estate officer -II, Haryana Shahri Vikas Pradhikaran, who is also the nodal officer for food distribution, said, “When we started distributing ration and cooked meals, we immediately identified the slums where we started feeding people. We geotagged the areas where cooked meals and dry ration were being distributed. The challenge in distributing dry ration is to identify people who desperately need it. It should not reach those people who unnecessarily hoard ration.”
According to him, in the initial days of the lockdown, they distributed 1,500 packets of ration a day while the overall demand was at least 20,000. “We were facing challenges in packaging. So, cooked meals were being distributed through gurudwaras and various philanthropic avenues. We started distributing 10,000 packets of cooked meals per day and today the number has reached over one lakh per day,” Kalia said. Currently, the Civil Defence NGO appointed by the administration for food is distributing dry ration packets comprising 2.5 kilograms of rice, 5 kilograms of wheat flour, 1 kilogram of pulses, 1 packet of salt, 1 kilogram of sugar, 350 grams of tea, 100 grams of red chilli, 100 grams of turmeric, 100 grams of cumin.
Officials of the department of food supplies, who provide dry ration to Below Poverty Line (BPL) cardholders, Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) families and Other Priority Households (OPH), said they are focusing only on authorised beneficiaries. “The temporary ration card is a recent announcement. Our focus is on the registered beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA). In the wake of the lockdown, there is a nominal change in the ration we were providing to the beneficiaries. For example, if a family of four was getting 20 kilograms of wheat, they are now getting an additional 20 kilograms. Likewise, we will provide them with 1kilogram of pulses/lentils along with a packet of iodised salt,” Monika Malik, in-charge, district food and supplies department, said.