Ration vendor’s licence suspended for ‘forcing’ people to buy Tricolour in Haryana
In videos that surfaced on social media, the vendor, Dinesh Kumar, can be seen saying that the local administration had issued orders saying ration should be given only if people buy the Tricolour.
The Haryana food and supplies department has suspended the licence of a ration depot holder in Karnal for allegedly forcing people to buy the national flag with food items in the backdrop of the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign, senior officials said on Wednesday.
The incident prompted the Centre to write to states/UTs directing them to ensure that ration is provided smoothly to all beneficiaries.
In videos that surfaced on social media, the vendor, Dinesh Kumar, can be seen saying that the local administration had issued orders saying ration should be given only if people buy the Tricolour. Other clips show beneficiaries alleging that they were refused ration because they did not buy the flag.
The clips surfaced online after a local news outlet visited the ration shop on Monday. HT could not verify the authenticity of these videos.
Karnal deputy commissioner, Anish Yadav, said that the incident took place in Chirao-Hemda village and that Kumar’s licence had been cancelled.
According to orders issued by Karnal District food and supply controller (DFSC), Kushal Boora, action was taken against Kumar for forcing ration card holders to buy the national flag before ration in the violation of the PDS control Order 2009 & National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013. HT has seen a copy of the order.
Deputy commissioner Yadav also appealed to the general public to inform the local administration if any more such incidents are noticed. He said people can voluntarily buy the flag from fair price shops and other outlets at ₹20 and for the convenience of the public, 88,400 flags have been provided by the administration to depot holders.
On Wednesday, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Varun Gandhi also tweeted the video and wrote, “It would be unfortunate if the celebration of the 75th anniversary of independence becomes a burden on the poor. Ration card holders are being forced to buy the Tricolour or their share of ration is being deducted instead.”
“It is shameful to collect the price of the Tricolour that resides in the heart of every Indian by snatching the morsel of the poor,” he added.
Speaking to HT, Union food secretary, Sudhanshu Pandey, said no beneficiary can be denied subsidised ration under the NFSA or the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PM-GKY). He said the department of food and public distribution has not issued any instructions to sell the national flag to beneficiaries and states have been directed to ensure “smooth and unconditional” delivery of ration, as per norms.
“This is highly irregular as bonafide National Food Security Act and Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana beneficiaries should be provided the full quantity of their entitled foodgrains as per rules, without any precondition,” the letter by the Centre to principal secretaries of all states/UTs stated.
“It may, therefore, be strictly ensured that no genuine NFSA beneficiary suffers on account of arbitrary action of fair price shop dealers/officials,” it added.
(With inputs from HTC, Delhi)