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Bihar govt asks dealers not to deny ration citing tech issues

‘Covid relief also to cards not linked to Aadhaar’

There are 1.68 crore households with ration cards in the state and out of them, 1.02 crore cards are linked to Aadhaar.

Amid complaints of PDS dealers denying ration to card holders and selling grains in the market by citing problems with the e-PoS system, the Bihar government has asked the dealers not to deny ration to anyone and to use dealer authentication in case of any technical issue.

There are 1.68 crore households with ration cards in the state and out of them, 1.02 crore cards are linked to Aadhaar.

Ration dealers, who had threatened to go on strike from May 1 to protest against the e-PoS system, withdrew the strike call after the government issued stern warnings. There are about 42,000 PDS shops in the state.

Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi told The Indian Express, “We are the last state to introduce the e-PoS system. Technology is the only way to minimise corruption in the PDS system. After receiving complaints of dealers resisting the new technology and denying people ration, we have been conducting raids. So far, we have initiated action against 694 dealers, registered cases against 215 and suspended PDS licenses of 175.”

Asked what the state government is doing to ensure ration to aged people whose fingerprints do not match, Modi said, “We have asked dealers to give them ration by using dealer authentication. We heard complaints about dealers drawing grains against fake cards. We have identified about 18 lakh cards that have neither Aadhaar number nor bank account details.” The government, he said, could soon cancel these fake cards.

The Deputy Chief Minister said complaints have also been received that dealers were denying ration to those whose family heads were away. “Even if one family number has Aadhaar authentication, a dealer cannot deny ration.”

Modi said that although Aadhaar linking of ration cards was underway, the government would give COVID-19 relief of Rs 1,000 to all card holders even if the cards are not linked to Aadhaar.

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