Centre prevented ‘big scam’ of AAP govt: BJP on Delhi’s doorstep ration delivery scheme

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“We will never know to whom Arvind Kejriwal is giving ration to,” says BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra

The BJP on June 6 claimed that the Centre has forestalled a “big scam” that the Delhi’s AAP government might have committed by “diverting” subsidised food grains, as it hit back at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for targeting the central dispensation for stopping his scheme of doorstep delivery of ration.

Also read: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal appeals to PM Modi to allow doorstep delivery of ration

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said the Delhi government is free to run such a scheme by purchasing grains at a notified rate, but it has no right to tweak or stop a national programme of subsidised ration distribution under the Food Security Act to launch its own plan.

Speaking at a virtual press conference, Mr. Patra also claimed that there is zero Aadhaar card authentication in Delhi against the national average of 80% and that the Kejriwal government had also earlier stopped the operation of POS machines, which allow biometric verification.

It means there is no way one can find out if the food grains are being delivered to the needy or diverted, he alleged.

“We will never know to whom Arvind Kejriwal is giving ration to. He wanted to launch a ration diverting system. He wanted to start a big scam as the ration would not reach the right person and nobody knows where it might have gone… The Centre has prevented a big scam from taking place,” the BJP spokesperson alleged.

Also read: Doorstep ration delivery stalled by Centre: CM

The same grains might have been sold at a highly inflated price, he said.

The Delhi government had on June 5 alleged that the doorstep delivery of ration scheme was rejected by the Lt Governor, saying the Centre’s approval was not sought and that a litigation was pending in the high court regarding it.

In an online briefing, Mr. Kejriwal on June 6 asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi why the scheme was stalled by the Centre and appealed to him to allow its implementation in the national interest.

Targeting the AAP dispensation, Mr. Patra said, “The A, B, C, D, E, F of Kejriwal’s functioning is ‘advertisement, blame [Modi], [take] credit, drama, excuses and [consequent] failure’.” Now Mr. Kejriwal claims that his government is preparing for the third wave of COVID-19, but if he had prepared for the second wave, the many deaths could have been prevented, the BJP leader said.

While the Delhi CM has blamed the Modi government for stopping the doorstep delivery scheme, the truth is that over 72.78 lakh people are benefiting from the Food Security Act, Mr. Patra said.

Also read: Free ration to 72 lakh ration card holders; financial aid to auto, taxi drivers: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal

Under PM Garib Kalyan Yojna, which provides free ration to the poor in May and June, the Delhi government has so far lifted 53,045 MT of grains out of 72,782 MT sent by the Centre and has distributed only 68% of what it has lifted, he said.

“If Arvind Kejriwal wants to distribute ration outside these programmes, he can purchase grains at notified rates and do it… But no State has the right to tweak a Central scheme being implemented uniformly across the country,” he said.

On Mr. Kejriwal’s statement that ration shops can act as “super-spreader” for the novel coronavirus infection, Mr. Patra wondered if farmer protests continuing at Delhi border points do not do so and accused the AAP leader of defaming these shopkeepers.

By not joining the ‘one nation, one ration card’ programme, the Delhi government has denied poor labourers and migrants of their rightful quota of ration, he further alleged.


This article was originally published on The Hindu