The Orissa High Court on Thursday issued a direction to the State Government to ensure that the policy and guidelines for issuance of BPL cards to beneficiaries are strictly followed.
The division bench of Chief Justice V Gopalagowda and Justice BK Mishra directed the secretaries of Panchayati Raj Department and Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Department to effect proper survey and inquiry so that the genuine beneficiaries are covered.
The gram panchayats and sarpanchs must be directed to function as per the statute and conduct palli and gram sabhas in the presence of PRI members strictly in accordance with the guidelines and identify genuine beneficiaries. If any complaint is received on fake beneficiaries, such should be inquired into immediately and suitable action should be taken, the bench ruled.
“The Government is allocating huge budget for this purpose. Therefore, it is the duty of the public authorities to see that the public money is utilised in proper manner and that it does not go waste,” the bench observed while ordering the Government to submit a status report in six weeks.
The directives came in response to a PIL filed by one Balakrishna Sandha and several other residents of Titilagarh in Balangir district alleging irregularities in identification of beneficiaries and preparation of the BPL list, which has deprived genuine poor, including themselves, from the schemes in their region.
The BDO, Titilagarh, filed an affidavit stating that due to low target some of the families had been left out and they will be covered under the poor left out (PLO) category on receipt of the new PLO target.
The bench held that the reasons put forth by the BDO were “unacceptable” and ordered him to take immediate steps to grant BPL cards in favour of the petitioners.
The bench further observed that, though it is the statutory duty of the State Government as well as its officers to ensure that the BPL list is prepared in strict accordance with the scheme and guidelines and by conducting proper survey as laid down by the Apex court, lapses are frequently brought to its notice. People above the poverty line, who are ineligible, manage to obtain the BPL cards which defeats the intent and purpose of the scheme,” it stated.