Ration card price puts consumers in fix

Suhail Bhat

Srinagar, Jan 9: Old printed ration card booklets have put lakhs of consumers to disarray in Kashmir as newly shaped Department of the Food, Civil Supplies, and Consumers Affairs is distributing the ration cards with old price tags which made consumers believe that department is charging exorbitantly.
The consumers said even as the price shown on the newly prepared BPL ration card is Rs 30 but they are being charged Rs 75 per card. “My ration card has a price tag of Rs.30 but the officials told me to deposit Rs. 75 for the card. How can I pay extra money? Why haven’t they mentioned the revised rate if it has been changed? There is total confusion. They print one rate and charge another. I think they are charging extra money to fill their pockets,” alleged Gulzar Ahmad, a BPL consumer from Ushkara village of Baramulla.
Director Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Tasaduq Jeelani, said the cards were printed before the implementation of National Food Safety Act and in order to save State exchequer they have used the already printed ration cards.
“Rather than wasting money on printing new ration cards, which could have put a burden on the State exchequer, we have used the old available cards. We issued circulars regarding the new rates to various public distribution outlets. I have already directed my field officers to put revised rates on the ration cards to avoid confusion,” he said.
He further said that after the implementation of NFSA, the Government decided to charge for the new ration cards, supposed to be issued to the general public, as per the category they belong.
“The consumers have to pay as per the category they fall: category PHH (AAY) had to pay Rs. 30 per ration card while PHH (BPL, others) will have to pay Rs. 75 per ration card, non PHH (APL) and exclusion category (for no ration purpose) have to pay Rs. 100 each per ration card,” the Director added.