NEW DELHI: Over a 100 people from various slum clusters and resettlement colonies of West and North-West Delhi have filed applications under the Right to Information Act (RTI) with the Food and Civil Supplies Department to find out why they were being deprived of their quota of ration despite holding valid cards. They also want to know why they are getting poor quality food grains.
The complainants, who had come from Vikaspuri, Mangolpuri, Sultanpuri, Paschim Vihar, Naraina, Mayapuri, Hastsal, Bakhrawala and Kirti Nagar, filed their applications with the office of the Commissioner of Food and Civil Supplies (FCS) at ITO this past week.
At their meeting with senior FCS officials, the complainants raised several issues relating to the treatment meted out to them at the circle level.
They alleged that whenever a resident went to lodge a complaint with the FCS officials at the circle level about a fair price shop owner not giving good quality grain or keeping the shop closed, the officials in turn informed the shop owner.
The shopkeeper then approached the complainant, threatening him or her with dire consequences.
Interestingly, one of the woman residents, who had come to file the application, had also brought a sample of rice allegedly bought from shop No. 6215 in circle No. 23 of Sultanpuri.
Seeing the highly impure sample, the FCS officials despatched an inspection team in the afternoon to the said shop. But much to the surprise of the complainant, the shop only had fine quality rice.
The complainant alleged that the information about the inspection was leaked to the shopkeeper from the FCS Department, which gave him time to replace the bad quality rice.
However, while admitting that the sample had a very high degree of impurity, a senior official of the FCS said the source of the sample had to be ascertained as he had never come across such poor quality grains at fair price shops.
At the meeting, the officials were also told that many of the residents had simply not got their ration cards despite applying for them two years ago.
Further, at places like Naraina, the residents were getting food grains at rates much higher than what has been set by the Government.
“Whether they hold the below poverty line (BPL), above poverty line (ABL) or Antyodaya cards, the residents get grains at Rs. 10 per kg,” said K. V. Krishnan of the Delhi Shramik Sangathan, which took the initiative of bringing together the residents and file applications under the RTI.
Meanwhile, the official said inspections and raids were carried out this past Wednesday and Thursday at shops about which complaints had been received.
On the issue of shopkeepers threatening residents, the official said there was only one case in which FIR was lodged and that was two years ago.
He added that the replies to the RTI applications were also being prepared.
With increased participation from such grass-root level citizens, I am sure the RTI will gain more momentum in the days to come. The Delhi Shramik Sangathan which has taken the initiative to educate these people to file RTI applications deserves all the praise.