Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Tuesday directed Deputy Commissioners to initiate action against ‘rich’ people who are in possession of Below Poverty Line (BPL) ration cards.
His direction came two days after Food and Civil Supplies Minister Umesh Katti came under fierce attack from party leaders over his remarks on BPL ration card eligibility.
Yediyurappa told reporters that many affluent people have violated rules and secured BPL cards and his government had been kind enough to give adequate time to surrender such cards voluntarily.
“We need to maintain proper supply of grain under Public Distribution Scheme (PDS) to eligible beneficiaries and action has to be taken to prevent misuse of the benefits by ineligible persons,” he said.
He added that all ineligible BPL ration card holders must return the card voluntarily, if they do not want to face legal action.
Responding to a question, he said that the BJP government had not changed any rules and it was implementing the same eligibility criteria that had been in existence since 2017.
“We are not changing any norms to issue BPL cards. But, at the same time, we cannot allow ineligible BPL card holders to thrive. Some rich have taken BPL cards, they must return their cards voluntarily,” he said.
“What is there to discuss on this topic,” he said, adding that the rules and directions which are in force since 2017 will continue now too.
“We will collect penalty from such people. I advise ineligible beneficiaries to return the cards in their own interest,” he reiterated.
For two days, Katti came under flak over his remarks that those who own five acres of land, a fridge, a TV or a two-wheeler should return the BPL ration cards.
According to a senior official in the Food and Civil Supplies Department, the government was aware of norms being flouted by a section of government employees and some of the BPL card holders even own tractors and other vehicles. “We will act on such people first,” he said.