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Friday, May 29, 2020

UT councillors allowed to assist in ration distribution under PMGKY

The Food and Supply department’s teams have been tasked with the distribution of dry ration to 63,613 families who mostly reside in the rehabilitation colonies, slum colonies and villages situated in the periphery of Chandigarh.

Written by Saurabh Prashar | Chandigarh | Published: April 24, 2020 2:28:00 am
Patiala Deputy Mayor Yoginder Singh Yogi distributing ration to at least 300 people despite being home quarantined. He sent a press release about distribution of ration.on thuesday express photo by harmeet sodhi

The Chandigarh Administration’s decision to allow local councillors and ruling party leaders to accommodate the Food and Supply department’s distribution teams to ‘assist’ them in distributing the dry ration under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna (PMGKY) has raised several eyebrows.

The Food and Supply department’s teams have been tasked with the distribution of dry ration to 63,613 families who mostly reside in the rehabilitation colonies, slum colonies and villages situated in the periphery of Chandigarh.

The teams have been distributing the ration since the past ten days. At first, five teams were assigned with the task and five more teams joined later. Food and Supplies department Secretary Vinod P Kavle said, “We are taking the assistance of local councillors and political leaders as they are well versed with the areas. It is so avoid perpretation of wrong information, like Wednesday, someone at Mauli Jagran spread messages that ration was being distributed for everybody. Councillors are doing good work, cooperating with us.”

Meanwhile, several UT officials think that the decision will not make the distribution process any less cumbersome, but will only provide the local political leaders with a battleground for taking credit. A senior UT officer said, “In my opinion, the independent teams of the Food and Supply department and the Chandigarh police were sufficient and competent for the distribution the ration and did not face any hurdle. Ironically, we were instructed to take along the local political representatives. Be it from ruling party BJP or the Congress. On Wednesday, at Mauli Jagran, our Food and Supply team was accompanied by the local BJP councillor, but things went out of control when someone spread the word that ration will be distributed among all the residents. Political leaders want to take credit for the central government scheme. They want to prove themselves before the people of their wards.”

Backing these claims, an official at the Food and Supply department said, “Earlier, we were making the list of eligible people according to our records. But now, we are making the list according to the local political leaders. Recently, when these leaders had started distributing food packets independently, DC Mandip Singh Brar had urged them to not do work with the administration instead.”

Congress councillor Satish Kainth, who is also a member State Food Commission said, “I have raised the demand to take along the local councillors for distribution of ration. I wrote a letter to the UT Administrator, a fortnight back. Food and Supply department are not aware about the houses of people. Social distancing rules were being flouted earlier. Now everything will be streamlined. For ration distribution in my area on Friday, I have already discussed the strategy with the Chandigarh SSP. I have also demanded sufficient police force for maintaining law and order.”

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