Skip to main content

Who ate our foodgrains? Ration cardholders of Jharkhand’s West Singhbhum ask govt

By Siraj Dutta
Hundreds of ration cardholders of 11 villages from across West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand have protested in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office against the denial of their Public Distribution System (PDS) foodgrains for “many months” over the past two years. Following the protest dharna, a list of demands was forwarded to the district administration, stating, pending grains of all the villages from 2016 onward should be immediately distributed to the cardholders.
Speaking on the occasion, John Kayam of Chakradharpur’s Baipi village said, “None of the cardholders of our village has received PDS grains for the months of September-December 2018.” He added, “We complained several times to the Supply Officer, District Grievance Redress Officer (DGRO), Deputy Commissioner (DC) and even the State Food Commission.”
Kelaram Majhi from the neighbouring village of Kupui said, “We have also not received grains for those months. Eighty-one cardholders of the village have decided that they will not take any PDS ration till they get their pending grains.” A similar view was expressed by protesters from Khuntpanin block’s Ulirajabasa, Bada Bankua, Onkolkuti and Sonua’s Podahat.
The National Food Security Act mandates that all grievances are to be redressed within one month. Many cardholders present at the dharna said that, despite repeated complaints to the block and district administrations over the past one year, their issues remain unresolved.
Villagers of Kupui said that the Block Supply Officer and the ration dealer had forged their thumbprints and signatures in a report to the district administration, according to which the cardholders of the village should have received grains for September to December 2018, but they are yet to receive it. DGRO threatened them that their ration cards would be cancelled if they did not agree to take the ration for months other than September-December 2018.
People of Khuntpani’s Ulirajabasa said that they did not get ration for three months in 2016, one month in 2017 and four months in 2018. After several complaints, they were called for a district-level hearing. But the DGRO declared that they will get pending grains only for the four months of 2018. According to her, cases of 2016 and 2017 are very old. Elderly Suniya Jojo of Baipi said, “Don’t the officials feel ashamed to eat the ration meant for the poor”.
Biren Diggi of Sonua’s Podahat village died of hunger in December 2018 after being denied grains for four months. Kaushalya Diggi of the same village said in the dharna today that despite so many complaints since then, the villagers are yet to be given ration for September-December 2018. Cardholders of Lupungutu village of Chaibasa Sadar block asserted, the ration dealer makes them authenticate in the electronic Point of Sale machine but does not give them grains.
Manki Tubid, who works on people’s rights in the district, said that irregularities in the PDS are not limited to a few villages, but are widespread across the district. While the ration dealers claim that they are not allocated grains, according to the administration, the dealers are regularly allocated grains as per their online transaction reports. A question raised by everyone in dharna was, “Where is the grain going then?” This also makes hollow the claims of the government that Aadhaar has helped in checking leakages in PDS, it was added.
Since Aadhaar was made mandatory in the PDS, cardholders have been facing several hassles. Ration cards not linked with Aadhaar were cancelled in thousands. Many of them are yet to be reissued new cards. Elderly Shuru of Lupungutu village is denied her grain entitlement since a year as her card was cancelled. None of the dealers maintains exemption registers to distribute grains to those who are not unable to successfully authenticate themselves through biometrics.
Representatives met the official on special duty (OSD) of DC. He admitted that several villages of the district are facing this issue. He also said that people would not get the pending ration as the dealer was not allocated the grains. He said the department allocates grains to the dealers as per their online transaction report. When it was pointed out that it means that grains are getting leaked, he remained silent. 
The team submitted a memorandum to DC, which included the following demands: 
  • Pending grains of all the villages from 2016 onward should be immediately distributed to the cardholders.
  • All eligible families whose ration cards have been cancelled, should be immediately issued new cards 
  • Ration dealers responsible for siphoning off PDS grains should be terminated and all functionaries responsible for the irregularities should be adequately punished. 
  • Aadhaar-based biometric authentication system should be removed from the PDS. 
The dharna ended with burning of effigies of DGRO and the District Supply Officer.

Comments

TRENDING

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Gujarat link of controversial US doctor who 'forced' WHO quiz Trump's wonder drug

By Rajiv Shah
A top American doctor, Sapan Sharankishor Desai, born and raised in the “affluent” North Shore (Chicago) region of Illinois by Indian parents, at one point of time involved in NGO activity through  dedicated to “improving” the lives of the impoverished in Gujarat, is in the eyes of a major international storm following his paper (retracted) in a “Lancet” questioning Donald Trump-promoted drug hydroxychloroquine.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Dalits in India, Blacks in US suffer 'similar' humiliation: Macwan drafts letter to Trump

Counterview Desk
Well-known human rights activist Martin Macwan, recipient of the prestigious Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award in 2000, has drafted an open letter to US President Donald Trump following the disturbing turn of events with the murder of George Floyd, leading to widespread protests in the US. He has sought signatures of concerned citizens before sending it to Trump.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.