Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)

As stocks run out fast, govt assures free ration to all

- Abhishek Dey

NEW DELHI: A large number of temporary food grains distributi­on centres set up as a lockdown relief measure by the Delhi government for those who don’t possess a ration card ran out of stocks on Tuesday, forcing officials to turn away people, several beneficiar­ies HT talked to said.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced the scheme on May 18 and it was implemente­d from June 5. Needy people who don’t possess ration cards, including unorganise­d workers, migrant workers, building and constructi­on workers, domestic helps are eligible to receive food grains under this relief initiative. The Delhi government estimated 2 million such beneficiar­ies in the city and identified 280 government schools as distributi­on centres. In the first phase, the government aims to cover 200,000 people.

The Delhi government on Tuesday said the stocks will be replenishe­d soon and grievances raised by several beneficiar­ies of the scheme will be resolved at the earliest.

“We need the ration at any cost. We do not have enough to spend on food grains at this point,” said Pushpa Devi, 43, whose family are migrants from Saran district in Bihar and have their ration cards registered in their home state. Devi reached the Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya in northwest Delhi’s Narela on Tuesday morning to collect ration but could not get it.

Kaushalya Devi, another beneficiar­y, who too returned home without ration from a centre in north east Delhi’s Seemapuri, said, “We are already troubled by the delay and now we are forced to line up for ration every day. It is extremely painful.”

Under the initiative, the government is distributi­ng 4 kg wheat and 1 kg rice.

On Tuesday, beneficiar­ies who queued up at distributi­on centres operating from government schools in several localities including Hauz Rani, Shahpur Jat, Chirag Dilli, Munirka, Seemapuri, RK Puram, Safdarjung Enclave, New Ashok Nagar and Ber Sarai were reportedly turned away after stocks ran out.

On Saturday and Monday, several such centres in Khajuri Khas, East of Kailash, Dilshad Garden, Kalyanpuri, Jahangirpu­ri, Badarpur, Manglapuri and Gokalpuri could not cater to the crowds.

Delhi’s food and civil supplies minister Imran Hussain said centres ran out of stocks because a large number of people turned up “in excess of what was expected”. “But people should not be concerned. We have placed orders with the Food Corporatio­n of India for more food grains, which will arrive soon,” he said.

Over the past two days, there were also several instances of people being denied ration for not carrying identity documents and not having valid mobile numbers, even though the government order – a copy of which HT has seen – has provision for giving food grains on self-declaratio­n in such cases.

Regarding such complaints, Hussain said, “We have taken note of all kinds of grievances reported by the people. We assure you that things will be further streamline­d in the coming days to make the entire process smooth and hasslefree. The Aam Aadmi Party government believes that ration is the right of people.”

Anjali Bhardwaj, Right to Food campaigner and a member of Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan, said the centres are running out of stocks since the beneficiar­ies are way above the government estimates.

“The Aam Aadmi Party government has claimed that the situation is not grim this year. But they have capped the total distributi­on at 200,000 beneficiar­ies in the first phase, which can extend to a maximum of 2 million -- as against 6.9 million beneficiar­ies estimated last year. This is the reason why most government schools are out of stock or has not received any food grains. The government should fix this problem at the earliest.”

 ?? SANCHIT KHANNA/HT PHOTO ?? A woman collecting free food grain at a school in Jahangirpu­ri, New Delhi, on Tuesday.
SANCHIT KHANNA/HT PHOTO A woman collecting free food grain at a school in Jahangirpu­ri, New Delhi, on Tuesday.

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