Kalimpong, Feb. 22: The food and supplies department is receiving applications and conducting hearings for ration cards in the subdivision. This exercise was last conducted 12 years ago and not a single ration card has been issued in the area during since then.
The decision to stop issuing ration cards apparently followed after the authorities found that the number of ration cards issued in the subdivision was far more than its population.
“There are 3.5 lakh ration cards in the subdivision while its population is only 2.2 lakh,” said subvisional officer Shakeel Ahmed.
While welcoming the initiative, local GNLF legislator Gaulan Lepcha said the administration should have carried out a campaign ahead of the process.
“Even people residing in the municipal areas are not aware about the process though it has been going on for the past few weeks,” he claimed. Lepcha said the administrative officials should have mobilised political parties, former councillors and gram panchayat members while carrying out the exercise.
Administrative sources, however, said there was not enough money for a full-fledged campaign. “Block development officers from respective areas have been asked to mobilise the gram panchayats for the exercise,” one of them said.
The huge queue in front of the designated offices also belied the MLA’s claims. Separate days have been assigned for people from different parts of the subdivision (see chart). According to administrative sources the first lot of ration cards should be issued in the next few days. Alongside issuing new ration cards, the food and supplies department has also been asked to seize fake ration cards, they added.
Block-I: Submission of forms on Wednesdays and Fridays, hearing on Thursdays
Block II: Submission of forms on Mondays and Fridays, hearing on Wednesdays and Thursdays Kalimpong municipality area: Submission on Thursdays and Fridays, hearing on Fridays