Agartala, July 31 (IANS): Tripura has stepped up a statewide crackdown on people who have claimed fake 'povery status' and collected over Rs 10 million as fines from those who have illegally availed facilities earmarked for the poor, a minister said here on Tuesday.
Tripura Food and Civil Supplies Minister Manik Dey said: "The State government during the past few months, has cancelled bogus BPL (below poverty line) cards held by over 7,000 families. Disciplinary proceedings have been initiated against these families."
"Over Rs 10 million have been collected as fines from the fake BPL card holder families. Some government employees were even unlawfully holding BPL cards," the minister told reporters.
Dey said the raid against the fake BPL card holders would continue. He also said that all the 1,653 ration shops in the state would be checked for irregularities in the public distribution system.
The families holding BPL cards are entitled to get rice under the public distribution system (PDS) at Rs 2 a kg, various free health and educational facilities, priority in getting government jobs besides diverse other facilities and concessions in fees in all government services.
Meanwhile, Tripura's main opposition Congress claimed that over 100,000 people in the state have fake poverty status cards.
"According to our party's estimate, over 105,000 people have been holding fake BPL cards and getting government facilities, including food at concessional rates from ration shops," Tripura opposition leader Ratan Lal Nath said.
According to Tripura government's assessment, 68 percent of the state's 3.7 million people fall in the below poverty line category, while the central government estimates the figure to be 40.6 percent.
The Tripura government, however, has disagreed with the central government's criteria to determine the BPL percentage.
After 14 years, India had undertaken an ambitious nation-wide BPL survey from June 29 last year to identify the number of people living below the poverty line.
The country-wide survey was rolled out from Hezamara rural development block in western Tripura.