BANGALORE: Defending the decision to link the election photo identity card (EPIC) with the ration cards to eliminate the bogus BPL cards, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao informed the Council that penal action would be initiated against the guilty under the Essential Commodities Regulation Act.
Replying to BJP’s D S Veeraiah on Monday, Rao said ever since the government's flagship programme 'Anna Bhagya' was launched, 18,14,114 cards, including 9,76,792 BPL cards, had been cancelled. Rao said: "The government is committed to remove the menace of the bogus BPL cards. EPIC and Aadhaar cards will be linked with ration cards."
He said at the end of June, 1,31,81,358 ration cards were in circulation in the state.
According to Rao, an average of three lakh metric tonnes of food grains needs to be distributed through PDS shops. "In June, about 2,52,989 metric tonnes of rice, 42,772 tonnes of wheat and 2,880.279 metric tonnes of ragi (millet) had been released," he added.
Stating that the government is equipped with sufficient laws to book criminal cases to root out the bogus cards, Rao also promised to bring in new legislation if necessary to curb the menace.
Referring to the incident of the misuse of rice meant for the Anna Bhagya, he said the department officials had registered 78 cases in this regard and registered about 223 criminal cases under the Karnataka Essential Commodities Regulation Act.
"Cases were booked against 222 PDS shops across the state for diversion of rice meant for the poor," he said.