Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)

From June 5, free grains without ration cards in Delhi

- Abhishek Dey

NEW DELHI: From Saturday, the Delhi government will start distributi­ng free ration to people outside the ambit of the public distributi­on system (PDS), through a network of 280 government schools, as part of relief measures announced by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal last month in view of the lockdown that has affected household incomes, said deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.

Later in the day, food and civil supplies minister Imran Hussain said, “By the night of June 2, the rations have reached 158 schools. Packages will be reaching the remaining schools by June 4. The whole process is being monitored by the CM.”

Delhi has been under a lockdown since April 19, in an effort to contain the alarming surge in Covid-19 cases which had left the city’s health-care infrastruc­ture overwhelme­d -between April 15 and May 10, the city was reporting over 20,000 Covid-19 cases a day. On May 4, Kejriwal had announced that ration for the 7.2 million PDS beneficiar­ies will be distribute­d for free in May and June. On May 18, he announced that free ration would also be given to people without ration cards.

The long delay in implementi­ng the scheme, however, has caused more distress, said a few daily wagers HT spoke to. “I have had no income since the lockdown and we are a family of four. For nearly two months, we have been availing of daily meals. After the CM announced last month that ration would be given to those without ration cards, we were relieved. But we had to buy essentials in May because the government did not give us anything. We are out of savings now. It is a good thing that the scheme is finally taking off,” said Manish Ranjan, who works as a porter at the Gandhi Nagar market.

Amardeep Jha, a worker, said, “We have ration cards from Bihar. But they are not valid in Delhi. So, we had to struggle a lot for food in May. There was no work and my employer did not pay me... We are relieved now to hear about the free ration scheme.”

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