People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXVI

No. 40

October 07, 2012

 

DELHI

 

CPI(M) Demands PDS Revamping, Food Security

 

AT the call of the CPI(M)ís Delhi state committee, over a thousand people, including a large number of women, held a demonstration and blocked traffic at the ITO, New Delhi, on September 27 for 30 minutes. They were protesting against the dismal state of the public distribution system (PDS) in Delhi. The demonstrators first assembled at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Park where a protest meeting was held. This meeting was presided over by Vijender Sharma, state secretariat member, and addressed by Asha Sharma, Rampal and Anurag Saxena, members of the CPI(M) state secretariat.

 

The speakers condemned the utterly callous attitude of the state government towards food security concerns of lakhs of citizens in the capital, especially in times marked by high inflation in food items. Only 3.74 lakh BPL and Antodaya cards have been issued in Delhi. This is even less than the figure of 4.09 lakh BPL/Antodaya cards that Delhi is considered eligible for by the Planning Commission on the basis of its bogus poverty criteria. 

 

As per a survey done under Mission Convergence, there are over nine lakh vulnerable or very vulnerable families in Delhi. The Delhi government had promised to provide all of them with either BPL or Antodaya ration cards. Instead, there is now talk of providing an additional two lakh BPL cards and paying such card holders Rs 600 per month in place of ration.

 

The speakers laid bare the corruption and malpractices that beset the PDS in Delhi and also exposed the nexus between officials, PDS shop owners and ruling party politicians. The chief ministerís promise that all those with an annual income of less than one lakh a year would get rations at APL rates after their cards are stamped has turned out to be a huge hoax and lakhs of APL card holders are not getting rations at all.

 

The CPI(M) has put forth the following demands before the Delhi government:

1) Provide 35 kg foodgrains to all families at Rs 2 per kg per month.

2) Scrap the scheme providing for cash transfers instead of rations.

3) Issue nine lakh BPL/Antodaya cards as per promises under the Mission Convergence.

4) Provide cheap sugar, daal and cooking oil to all cardholders in PDS.

5) Continue sale of kerosene oil from government kerosene depots.

6) Stamp out corruption in different aspects of the PDS.

7) Ensure regular opening of ration shops and rations as per entitlement.

8) Stop stamp system for APL category and provide APL card holders full rations.