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Fake ration card circulation exceeds 40 lakh in TN: Minister

Written by: Staff

Madurai, Nov 23 (UNI) Fake ration cards in circulation in Tamil Nadu were estimated at 40 lakh, State Food and Civil Supplies Minister E V Velu said here.

Talking to newspersons here yesterday after a consultative meeting, with four other ministerial colleagues and officials, Mr Velu said, according to the 2001 census, the total number of families in the state was 1.41 crore, whereas over 1.89 crore ration cards had been issued.

Nearly, 40 lakh cards were issued in the year 2005, he pointed out, indirectly hitting the previous AIADMK Government.

Responding to a question, he said besides political pressure, inadequate time to screen the applications was the reason for this.

As such, streamlining the cards and eliminating the fake ones was necessary, he explained.

The minister cited largescale circulation of fake cards as one of the prime reasons, facilitating smuggling of PDS rice. Following the efforts made towards streamling the system, PDS offtake which was at three lakh MT, had been brought down by 40000 MT in the last five months, saving the exchequer Rs 16 crore, he observed. Following enhanced vigilance, 31 cases had been booked against smugglers, the minister said.

Stating that ten lakh fresh applications had been received, seeking new ration cards, Mr Velu said they would be disposed off within one and a half month. Issuing fresh cards would not be stopped because of rationalising the system, he added.

In order to dispense with the delay in printing the new cards and to prevent typological errors, he said the department was considering to handover the work to the respective district administrations.

All ration shops and cooperative stores would be provided with electronic weighing machines as part of the modernisation drive.

Further, a Rs 298 crore proposal had been forwarded to the Centre for computerisation of the department under the Centrally-assisted e-governance programme, Mr Velu said.

On the free gas stove programme to be launched in January next, the minister said three review meetings had been held so far to prepare the ground, for the programme.


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