The fake ration card scam in Chhattisgarh has claimed its first life. A visually challenged 70-year-old BPL farmer has committed suicide, allegedly because the administration cancelled his ration card.
Peeladas Lehre, a resident of Chikhalputi village in Kondagaon, had got a new ration card after the state government introduced its Food Security Act last year and decided that all old cards would be replaced by new ones. However, as reported by The Indian Express, these cards were made just months before the Assembly polls and in the hurry to dole out cheap ration, irregularities surfaced in the process.
Around 14 lakh or 20 per cent of the total 70.27 lakh cards made belonged to either non-existent or ineligible beneficiaries, but the government continued to provide them ration. The state administration began a drive to verify and cancel cards only after the Lok Sabha elections this year.
Lehre’s wife Kamla Bai told TV reporters that when the cards were being verified, her husband could not visit the government office to present his case due to his ailment, so the administration cancelled his ration card. Their ration was stopped and subsequently, he hanged himself from a tree on August 15.
“He left home at night and was found hanging from a tree in the morning,” she said. “We conducted an autopsy and began the investigation. It emerged that he had a ration card but recently his ration was stopped, which disturbed him. It might have caused the incident,” SP Abhishek Meena told The Indian Express.
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Congress president Bhupesh Baghel has demanded a CBI probe into the scam.