Hyderabad, April 19 (INN): Telangana Congress leaders alleged that the State Government has denied rice and financial assistance to lakhs of poor people across the State on various pretexts.
“The Chief Minister had announced on March 22, 2020 that State Government will supply free 12 kg rice per person and Rs 1500 to each of the 87.59 lakh white ration card holders in the state. However, some of these ration card holders were denied the 12 kg rice saying that their cards have been cancelled due to non-drawal of rations for three months. All such cards should be immediately restored and rice supplied to them immediately by making an announcement to that effect,” Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) President & MP Capt. N. Uttam Kumar Reddy, CLP leader Bhatti Vikramarka and TPCC COVID-19 Task Force chairman Marri Shashidhar Reddy said in their open letter to CM KCR on Sunday.
Uttam Kumar Reddy pointed out that there were two other categories of poor people who are not a part of the above 87.59 lakh card holders. “Firstly, there are about 18 lakh pending applications from eligible people for white ration cards, which were cancelled in the past. They should be immediately given ration cards and should not be denied rations during these difficult days. Secondly, there is also another category of about 4.5 lakh poor people who neither have cards nor have any pending applications. These people should also not be excluded,” he said.
The TPCC chief said that former Congress President Rahul Gandhi has made a suggestion that those without active ration cards can be given “Temporary Cards” during this crisis. “At a time when people like Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerji has called for universal public distribution to put money in the hand of the poorest of the poor, during these extraordinarily difficult times, we are allowing things to go out of hands. Both these categories of people also deserve to be given the benefits of relief of 12 kg free rice and Rs 1500 cash immediately since Lockdown 2.0 is now under implementation now, on par with the others,” he said.
Further, Uttam Kumar Reddy said that in the PM Relief Package a quantity of 5 kg rice and 1 kg dal was promised to all ration card holders for three months. He said Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her press conference held on March 26, clearly stated that 5 kg rice and 1 kg dal was in addition to the subsidised ration already being given. Further, on April 13, the Central Govt in a PIB press release, announced that food grains and pulses have already been despatched to the States. However, he said that the rice and dal promised by the Centre has not been distributed to the beneficiaries in Telangana so far. Expressing apprehension that the State Government was not distributing the Centre’s rice separately, he asked the Chief Minister to clarify on the issue and specify the time by which the promised rice and dal would be distributed among poor people.
With regard to the disbursement of Rs 1500 to every White Ration Card holder, the TPCC Chief said although the announcement was made on March 22, the amount was transferred only after 24 days which exposes the utter failure of the administration. He said there were contradictions in the statements given by Finance Minister T. Harish Rao and IT Minister KT Rama Rao. While Minister Harish Rao made a statement on April 13 announcing that all 87.59 eligible persons would have Rs 1500 transferred into their accounts, Minister KTR tweeted on the same night that around 74 lakh bank accounts in Telangana will be credited Rs 1500 as promised by CM KCR the next day. “The saying that the “left hand does not know what the right hand is doing” appears to be very apt for this contradiction,” he said.
Uttam Kumar Reddy said there was no response from KTR when the Congress leaders asked him in reply to his Tweet about the fate of left out 13 plus lakhs white card holders. “Civil Supplies Corporation Chairman Mareddy Srinivas Reddy told the media the next day that the amount could not be deposited in the accounts of the remaining 13.42 lakh white ration card holders due to technical problems, including non-linkage of bank accounts among others,” he said and demanded that the State Government disburse the amount among remaining beneficiaries without any further delay.
Further, the TPCC Chief said that the PM Relief Package included the supply of one gas cylinder per month for 3 months totally free of cost to the ‘Ujwala’ beneficiaries. “While there are only about 10.75 lakh Ujwala beneficiaries in Telangana, there are about 104 lakh Deepam beneficiaries who are NOT getting this benefit. The state government should, immediately come forward to bear the cost of one gas cylinder per month for three months for the ‘Deepam’ beneficiaries. The State Government should subsequently claim the amount from Centre,” he demanded.
The Congress leaders reiterated their commitment to fully cooperate with the State Government in this war against Coronavirus. “Our suggestions are based on our own experience and in consultation with experts, so that the State Government can also act upon them to realise our common goal to mitigate the difficulties of the people,” they said.
“The Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee has constituted the COVID-19 TASK FORCE under the chairmanship of Marri Shashidhar Reddy, former Vice Chairman of National Disaster Management Authority, Govt of India. They are getting feedback from the ground level, holding discussions within the Task Force and also with several experts. Based on their deliberations, we will continue to convey our suggestions to you on different issues and this is our Letter No 2,” they said.