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Why are poor people unable to get BPL card in Gujarat? Because there isn't enough assessing staff!

By Our Representative
Why are many sections of the poor people in Gujarat deprived of a below poverty line (BPL) ration card, which would enable them to buy foodgrains at subsidized rate? If government officials are to be believed, this is because there aren’t enough government staffers available to “assess” whether those who have applied for obtaining BPL card should get these or not. This is what came to light when an NGO-led delegation reached the district food controller’s office in Ahmedabad for submitting a memorandum.
As many as 75 nomadic families belonging to the Nat community, living not very far from Ahmedabad city, in Kali village of the Sarkhej region, had applied for BPL card late last year. However, now they have been told that they are unable get BPL card because of “lack of staff”, forcing them to demonstrate in front of the district food controller’s office.
In a memorandum, submitted by the 75 families through the Dalit Hak Rakshak Manch (DHRM), to the district food controller, Ahmedabad, on April 19, the DHRM said, “On December 17, 2013, the DHRM had submitted a plea on behalf of the 75 families for BPL card to the food and civil supplies department’s Sarkhej-2 zonal office.”
“We were told that that a group of persons from the office would reach the village Kali’s Nat Vas colony, where the nomadic families live. However, till date, no one has come down to do the job”, Rajesh Solanki of DHRM said, adding, “When we approached the zonal office recently, we were told by one official by the name of Zala that he does not have staff.”
“In fact, he told us that he works with just 30 per cent of the staff he should be given, so it would take another six months for him to send anyone for assessing whether the 75 families should get BPL card or not”, Solanki said.
The poor Nat families had earlier applied for BPL card in June 2009. They had submitted all the certificates necessary the same. However, nothing happened. “We submitted scanned copies of the applications to the district food controller’s office”, Solanki said.
The memorandum said, “Your office is criminally responsible for delay in handing over BPL cards to the poor people. It is unfortunate that they are being made to wait since 2009.You are, therefore, requested to act urgently in the matter.”

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