GUWAHATI, Dec 22 � The State Government had detected 1.38 lakh bogus ration cards during the past two years.
In its bid to detect all the bogus ration cards, the Government has asked the Supply Department to compare the ration cards with the electoral rolls, said State�s Food and Civil Supplies Minister Dr Nazrul Islam. He was replying to a debate on the demand for a grant of Rs 33.55 lakh made by his department.
Further, the minister informed the House that within one year�s time the Public Distribution System (PDS) of the State is expected to be computerized.
He claimed that there is no shortage of cooking gas in the State and the cooking gas cylinders are to be supplied to the consumers within seven days of their booking the cylinders as per a High Court order, the Minister said.
He also informed the House that in 1993, four lakh ration cards were printed for Guwahati for the sake of supply of kerosene. But some senior officials of the Government objected to the practice of introducing two types of ration cards and therefore, those ration cards were later converted into Family Identity Cards meant for Fair Price Shops.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister has ordered an inquiry into the bogus ration card issue by a retired judge and it is decided to wait till the report of this inquiry is submitted, said the Minister.
The Minister described the State�s PDS as a huge one and because of its enormous size it has some inadequacies and has been creating some problems. The Government is, however, taking measures to streamline the performance of the PDS, he said.
There are 708 Gaon Panchayat Samabay Samitis (GPSS), 53 Large Area Multipurpose Cooperative Societies (LAMPS � in the hills districts), 34 Consumers� Cooperative Societies, 35,535 fair price shops, 12,438 kerosene hawkers, 3307 kerosene retailers and 380 kerosene depots under the State�s PDS.
But about 90 per cent of the GPSS are sick. They do not have their own money to procure the items allotted to them. Each of them needs between Rs 12 lakh to Rs 14 lakh in a month to lift the items earmarked for them.
To strengthen these GPSS, the State Government has introduced the Chief Minister�s scheme for strengthening the cooperative societies. This is expected to help the GPSS to overcome the crisis they are in and thus to come out of the grip of the money lenders. However, the elected members of the GPSS should also be honest to help their cooperative societies to tide over the crisis, the Minister said.
Many of the kerosene hawkers are now creating problems in the villages. They often sell their quotas of kerosene in the black market. Now the Government has asked the Supply Department to fix hawkers� points to make them open to monitoring. The hawkers will get their next allotments only after selling their allotments on-hand. And this would have to be certified by the respective ward councillors, said the Minister.
There is also a gap between the demand and supply of kerosene in the State. The kerosene requirement of the State is 44,000 metric tonnes (MTs), while it is receiving 21,000 MTs of kerosene at present, he said.
The Minister exuded the belief that computerisation of the PDS would be able to remove its anomalies.
The cut motions moved by the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were withdrawn following the reply of the Minister.