Sambalpur: Pitamber Oram’s four-member family lives in Jhankarpali panchayat under Jujumara block in Sambalpur district. Pitamber has not been allowed to collect his family’s rice quota from the control shop or public distribution system (PDS) centre for the last six months and nobody knows when they will be able to avail it ever again.
Reason behind this is that the family’s ration card has not been linked to its Aadhaar card.
Pitamber’s wife bemoaned that her husband has been bedridden for last five years as his legs were paralysed after a road accident. She also said that Pitamber is not in a condition that he can complete all the procedures to get an Aadhaar card.
Such predicament is not limited to Pitamber alone, there are about 33,000 needy beneficiaries in the district who have been denied ration rice and other products under PDS system because they are unable to link their ration cards with Aadhaars.
The Supply and Consumer Welfare department has also failed to come to their rescue as the beneficiaries are not sure when their ration cards would be linked to Aadhar.
Notably, there are 1,83,017 families in the district registered under National Food Security Act. Their ordeal began after the state government implemented the Centre’s ‘one nation, one ration card’ programme in September 2019; when the process of ‘seeding’ ration cards with Aadhaar cards was finalised. 6,52, 485 beneficiaries in the district managed to complete this process and so, were able to collect rations.
But more than 33,000 beneficiaries like Pitamber’s family members are clueless about what ‘seeding’ means, and many do not even have an Aadhaar card yet.
Another instance: Phagun Oram and Jema Oram are suffering from same situation as Pitamber but their case is different. They have completed all the process to get their Aadhar cards, but it is the ignorant nature of the concerned officials that they have not received the cards till now, they lamented. As a result, they are deprived from getting their rations under PDS.
However, District Supply and Consumer Welfare department’s officer Ranjan Seth admitted that many deserving people in the district had been left out following the Aadhaar linkage system coming into force. He said efforts were on to ensure that not a single deserving person is denied their quota of rations under FSA. According to him, those who could not be covered under NFSA for rice and kerosene, would, at least, be provided with rice under the state’s food security scheme.
Jujumara BDO Suraj Biswal said that corrections are being carried out on a daily basis at the grassroots level to ensure that people with terminal illness or those who faced problems with unmatched thumb impressions, were provided their quota without delay.
For the government, Aadhaar linkage to welfare programmes may be a good way to check loss of ration meant for the poor, but the denial of benefits to people due to administrative mistakes has been a debacle.
Biswal further said that they will try their best to speed up the process of Aadhaar linkage with ration cards.