The J&K government on Monday ordered an inquiry in the alleged scam wherein subsidized food grains were being sold at exorbitant rates to BPL cardholders according to a report by Greater Kashmir.
In a statement, Chairman RTI Movement, Raja Muzaffar Bhat said – it was a “multi-crore scam” and must be probed thoroughly. In many villages of Budgam and some other districts, the officials of FCS & CA have been selling ration to BPL ration cardholder on exorbitant rates (APL rates) for last 4 to 5 years without informing the poor consumers that they were under BPL / PHH category as per online information available on FCS & CA portal.
An official said that taking note of the complaints, Secretary Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA) Simrandeep Singh ordered the probe and appointed additional secretary of the department as an inquiry officer. He was asked to submit the report within 10 days.
The inquiry officer along with some other officers visited Budgam district today and sought details from the aggrieved consumers, the official said.
Several residents of Loolipora village said that they belong to the BPL category but were provided ration at higher rates than fixed by the government for poor consumers.
“We were provided a notebook with the stamp of local storekeeper and made to believe it as genuine ration card. It showed us as APL category,” said a group of aggrieved consumers of Loolipora.
The villagers said it was through information sought under the RTI that they came to know they had been categorized as BPL card holders in government records.
Akhtar, a BPL consumer from Loolipora village, said he has been cheated by a local storekeeper for years together. Under the government norms, a BPL consumer is entitled to get rice at Rs 3/ kg. The APL consumer gets similar quality at Rs 15/kg.
Around 35 families in Loolipora village only were entitled to the subsidized rice under BPL quota. But they were cheated for years to purchase the ration at exorbitant rates. Similar complaints were received from adjacent areas of the village.
“We have exposed a scam with proof which proves that fake APL (Above Poverty line) ration cards were provided to Below Poverty Line (BPL) consumers. Our team of activists lead by Mushtaq Ahmad Lone obtained a lot of information which proves that almost 30 families in only Loolipora village of Chadoora subdivision were entitled to get subsidized rice under BPL / PHH quota as their name is uploaded on the Government food portal under BPL and PHH, but the officials of Food and Civil Supplies department especially storekeepers along with some other tehsil and district-level officials have provided these poor people fake ration cards with APL marking,” x “As per estimations, for the last four years each BPL person in the village has paid Rs 40,000 to Rs 45,000 extra, pointing towards embezzlement of Rs 12 to 13 lakh in this particular village,”
He said similar complaints from other villages were pouring in. “We demand Anti-Corruption Bureau must probe the scam after registration of the case,” he said.