KOLKATA: A day after the plight of around 50 poor starving families of a village came to light in West Bengal, the Purulia district administration on Friday recovered their ration cards from local money lenders and returned them to the original owners.
Officials of the food and supplies department visited Sarojmatu village and recovered the rations ration cards from the money lenders. Before receiving the cards, the actual owners had to give a written declaration that they would not mortgage the documents again in future.
Guna Kuiri, one of the money lenders, admitted that he had asked some of the families to deposit their ration cards with him before giving them loan. “I gave them money but they had nothing to give me as guarantee. I asked them to give their ration cards. I handed over all the cards that I had in my possession to the officials of the food and supplies department,’’ he said.
On Friday, the Purulia administration distributed 20 kg rice for each family in the village.The poor families had to mortgage their ration cards to borrow money from these money lenders. They were not being allowed to avail free PDS foodgrain being distributed in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.The families in Bengal’s one of the backward regions had borrowed money by mortgaging their ration cards to meet their expenditures.
Poverty written large
In 2006, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Purulia among India’s 250 most backward districts. Altogether, 640 districts had been surveyed