Ghaziabad ration dealers take out protest march, demand scrapping of FIRs

The ration scam pertains to the withdrawal of ration from the accounts of 16,598 consumers in Ghaziabad with the aid of fake Aadhaar cards.

noida Updated: Sep 08, 2018 06:41 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Ghaziabad
Ghaziabad,Ration scam,Ration dealers
Ration dealers demand scrapping of FIRs lodged against them in connection with the ‘ration scam’ at Ghaziabad last month. (Sakib Ali /HT Photo)

Hundreds of ration dealers on Friday carried out a march from Kavi Nagar Ramlila ground to the district headquarters, demanding the scrapping of FIRs lodged against them in connection with the alleged ‘ration scam’. The dealers also protested outside the house of UP minister Atul Garg.

The dealers have been demanding scrapping of FIRs lodged against 103 dealers. These were lodged by the district officials after the alleged ‘scam’ came to light in which fake Aadhaar cards were allegedly used to draw ration from nearly the accounts of 16,598 ration consumers in Ghaziabad.

The officials said after the issue came to light in Ghaziabad, a similar fraud was also found in 43 districts in the state.

According to officials, one Aadhaar card per family can be used once a month to draw ration. The family’s ration card is linked to its members’ Aadhaar cards and whichever member draws the family’s share that month, his or her details are logged via the electronic point of sale (ePoS) machine, informing the system that the family’s quota for that month has been drawn.

Officials said they came across 69 fake Aadhaar cards in July that were allegedly linked to 16,598 ration cards across the district and used to draw ration from the accounts of the ration card holders. Officials suspected the connivance of ration dealers because every time ration is drawn, they are supposed to look at the ration card as well. Ration dealers, on the other hand, alleged that “insiders” who dealt with Aadhaar data linked to these ration cards were part of the nexus.

“We have been on strike since September 5 as our shops have been suspended and the card holders merged with other shops. We only get 70 paise per kg as commission. This is hardly anything as we incur a heavy cost on transportation on goods from godowns,” Vikas Sharma of the adarsh kotedar evam upbhokta welfare association said.

“Our dealers have been implicated in the ‘scam’, but officials and other staff have not been named. Our dealers are less educated and cannot hack the password and login of the system. The FIRs lodged against us are biased,” he said.

The different FIRs lodged by the Ghaziabad administration name 103 dealers, private operators and others in connection with the alleged scam.

“We have lodged the FIRs against 102 dealers and one more was lodged later. The dealers have been getting 70 paise per kg as commission and 10 paise per kg as handling charges. This is low as compared to other states such as Delhi. With regard to the scam, it is now up to the police to take up the investigation and initiate legal proceedings. We have suspended 103 ration shops,” Sunil Singh, district supplies’ officer, said.

The district police said that the FIRs will be dealt with collectively. “The investigation in all cases will be clubbed together,” Vaibhav Krishna, senior superintendent of police, said.

First Published: Sep 08, 2018 06:41 IST