The Karnataka government on Monday asked people possessing Below Poverty Line (BPL) ration cards, despite being ineligible on account of owning either a two wheeeler, TV, fridge or over five acres of land, to surrender them before March 31 or face legal action.
‘There are parameters for possessing a BPL card. They should not have more than five acres of land, motorcycle, TV or fridge.
Those who don’t qualify on these parameters should return the cards or else we will do it,’ Food and Civil Supplies Minister Umesh Katti said at a press conference in Belagavi.
He said anyone earning more than Rs 1.20 lakh annually should not use BPL cards and has to return it before March 31.
Congress flayed the remarks and party workers staged protests in front of various ration shops in Bengaluru.
Party workers also protested in Dharwad, Mysuru and Tumakuru, a Congress leader said.
Congress MLA U T Khader said the issue had come up before him when he was the Food and Civil Supplies Minister in the Siddaramaiah government and he had decided not to relax the norms as many poor people would be affected.
He opined that when there are offers like interest free loans to purchase all these items, it was obvious that people would buy it.
The government is ‘anti-poor’, he charged and asked them to focus on identifying more beneficiaries instead of ‘snatching away’ their BPL cards.
Meanwhile on Monday evening, Minister Umesh Katti clarified that it was not his decision after taking over as Food and Civil Supplies Minister or even the decision of BJP government.
He said: “It was the decision of erstwhile congress government and we are just implementing it. There is no amendment to the orders issued by the previous government.”
Katti maintained that the government has noticed that a large number of families have illegally obtained BPL cards in violation of government norms. If such families have violated government orders and obtained unauthorized BPL card, then we have made appeal to such people to surrender cards by March 31, 2021. If the cards are not withdrawn within a period of time, I have directed the authorities to take appropriate action against them.”
With PTI Inputs