State food and supply minister Jyotipriya Mullick on Thursday made a surprise visit to a food and supply office at Baranagar posing as a commoner and busted a racket involved in providing ration cards,allegedly in connivance with some officers.
Three members of the racket Dilip Bose,Ramkrishna Bar and Nilkamal Chakraborty asked Mullick to pay Rs 1,000 to get a ration card within 24 hours,the minister told The Indian Express. They were caught red handed and were later handed over to the police.
Hiding my identity,I visited the office this morning and saw three men sitting there. When I sought their help to get a ration card,they asked me to pay Rs 1,000 for it. We learnt from others that the trio had been running the racket from the office for the last fifteen years. For Rs 1,000 the ration card is handed over to the person within 24 hours. They charge Rs 650 for delivering the card within two days. The trio was handed over to the police, Mullick said.
The minister added that 208 fake ration cards were seized from the office. I have ordered a vigilance probe,the report for which will be submitted soon. Based on the report,I will take action against those involved in the racket, he said when asked if any officer has been suspended in connection with the incident.
We have reports that there are over 1.09 crore fake ration cards in the state out of which 48 lakh have been recovered. The district administration has been pressed into service to recover the fake cards. The state government provides Rs 840 crore per year as subsidy to provide ration items, Mullick said.