For the first time in Andhra Pradesh, the state Civil Supplies Department has received as many as 2.10 lakh fake ration cards in three weeks from dealers of fair price shops (FPS) and individual ration-card holders.
In the first week of August, minister for civil supplies D Sridhar Babu had appealed to people and FPS dealers to submit bogus ration cards in their possession within a given time to avoid any action from the authorities.
Subsequently, officials passed orders to FPS dealers and individual card holders to return bogus cards before August 14.
However, the department extended the deadline up to August 24 after the joint collectors of various districts requested it.
People in 16 districts out of 23 have surrendered bogus cards till now and rest of the eight districts’ joint collectors have requested for a further extension, up to August 31, said civil supplies commissioner Harpreet Singh.
He further said, “The department has agreed to extend the deadline for the eight districts.
The number of surrendered bogus cards may go up to 3 lakh by the end of this month.
Civil supplies director T Chiranjeevulu said vigilance and enforcement officials will initiate a special drive from September 1 to weed out the menace.
Legal action will be taken against holders of fake ration cards, he added.
On an average, the government spends a subsidy of Rs 300 on each ration card every month.
With the submission of around 3 lakh bogus cards by the end of the month, the government is expected to save about Rs 9 crore a month.
As per the department’s record, there are 2.29 crore ration card holders in the state including 2 crore BPL beneficiaries (white ration card holders) and 29 lakh pink card holders.
Total number of fair price shops is 42,540. Of these, 40,350 are in operation and 2,190 are closed down for misappropriation of commodities.