BPL red cards scam in Bihar
Over 21 lakh special ration cards were issued to poor people who were not entitled to benefit from the scheme.india Updated: May 11, 2006 03:32 IST
A major scam to the tune of over Rs 1,400 crore relating to the alleged misuse of subsidised rations and short supply of foodgrains meant for people below the poverty line during the erstwhile RJD rule in Bihar has come to light.
Documents accessed by this correspondent show that over 21 lakh special ration cards were issued by authorities to poor people who were not entitled to benefit from the scheme.
The papers, gathered from the state food department, Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Crime Investigation Department (CID) and the Vigilance Investigation Bureau, showed that the food department had on September 4, 2000 admitted in an official communication to the EOW that it had reviewed the below poverty level (BPL) list between 1998 and 2000, and struck off 21,00,226 non-BPL beneficiaries from among 61 lakh "red card" holders.
The food department also admitted to the EOW that exactly the same number of beneficiaries were later included in the list.
By March 31, 2001, it was established by the food department that 21,00,226 red cards were distributed to non-BPL beneficiaries and that they had lifted subsidised rations using the cards. The cost of these rations was put at Rs 300 crore.
The short supply of foodgrains to the poor with red cards was projected at Rs 146 crore. According to the EOW, the total cost of the lost opportunity to the poor in respect of the scheme alone came to about Rs 1000 crore, according to the documents.