While Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA) department continue to brag of distributing the food grains among every deserving soul as per norms laid out under National Food Security Act (NFSA), the ground reality seems to be quite different.
NFSA, 2013 was implemented in J&K in 2016 to provide access to ‘adequate quantity of quality food at affordable prices’ to people, as per their economic status.
However, four years down the line Greater Kashmir found irregularities with the act’s implementation, with a case in Sopore village.
In Sopore’sTarzoo village, which, as per local Central Auqaf Committee has 4500 households, notebooks serve as ration cards for many residents here. Many here have been provided with non-priority household (NPHH) rations cards instead of priority ration cards(PHH), when their names clearly feature in PHH in online public distribution system (PDS), also known as ePDS.
There are also contradictions on number of family members registered on the issued ration cards and their online status. Besides, there are families who have been listed as above poverty line or NPHH, despite they having a meager income.
Abdul Rehman Rather resident Tarzoo, is a small time farmer who has been listed as ‘Ex’ card type, which means that he has been excluded from the list of beneficiaries entitled under NFSA.
‘Ex’ card type serves for documentation purposes mostly.
Rather’s life (who is a small time farmer) has been full of miseries with his wife dead after going through dialysis for years and his two sons dead in accident in 2007. The tragedies have left the family emotionally and economically strained.
“We never knew that we have been listed as Ex category. We have given APL card. We never got ration at subsidised rates,” said Rather’s son Riyaz Ahmad.
Greater Kashmir checked nearly 30 cases in Tarzoo village and found discrepancies in them.
Abdul Subhan Rather has been given NPHH ration card for six family members, however on ePDS portal his ration card is listed as PHH with seven family members.
*HabibullahBhat has been given NPHH ration for five family members, however ePDS portal his ration card is listed as PHH with six family members.
Abdul RehmanBhat has been given NPHH ration card for seven family members, however ePDS portal shows his ration card listed as NPHH with only five members.
Besides, there are other such cases including of GhulamMohiuddinBhat, Abdul MajeedBhat, and Abdul Rehman Rather who have been given NPHH ration cards instead of ePDS portal mentioning them under PHH category.
There is also a curios case of retired bank manager, Abdul Subhan, who has been given APL card while ePDS shows him as NPHH. “I don’t need subsidized ration. But, it needs to be investigated that who is earning illegal bucks on my name,” said he said.
Director FCS&CA department Kashmir, Bashir Ahmad Khan said: “The entries on portal are from the lists made by district development commissioners. After that the report from the committee goes and then entries are made on portal. If somebody is listed as PHH on portal, he will get PHH only… but portal is authentic.”
Regarding case of farmer at Tarzoo, Khan said: “There may be a mistake at the time of form or entry on portal. We can rectify it. They must go to the concerned Assistant Director”.
About being asked to how will the bereft people be able to avail benefits from years, Khan said: “We had a similar complaint from Budgam village…you have to understand that entries made on the portal were done by an outsourcing agency. They used write two souls less or even more. But lists are authenticated”.
He added enquiry will be initiated.