AAP vs bureaucrats: Arvind Kejriwal alleges ‘defiance’ as Food department cancels 2.48 lakh ration cards

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The Delhi Food Department has removed the names of around 2.48 lakh ration card holders from the list after they were found ineligible and urged the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in the national capital to reinstate the e-PoS system for the process of ration distribution. The departments move is against the desire of the citys elected government, with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal calling the move a deliberate act of defiance at the hands of officers of the Food department. The move comes after the death of three children due to starvation in the national capitals Mandwali area. Calling the act as shocking, the Chief Minister said that the deletion was carried out without conducting door-to-door verification. The Chief Minister further said, Many families would be rendered hungry because of the insensitive attitude of the officers. The recent episode of the unfortunate death of three children in Mandawali due to hunger and non-availability of food is a case in point. It is apprehended that due to an illegal cancellation of ration cards, such incidents in other parts of Delhi cannot be ruled out for which the Food Commissioner would be personally responsible, reports The Indian Express. Hailing the departments move, Mohanjeet Singh, Food Commissioner, Delhi government, said that the cards were removed from the lists as per rules and regulations. Singh also added that the move will help to save crores from pilferage. Speaking to IE, he said, This must be one-of-its-kind in the country, where the Public Distribution System (PDS) has been sanitised to this extent. It will continue. I have recommended to the government that e-PoS be restored. Last month, Delhis Food Minister Imran Hussain had asked Singh to stop the process of removal of names. In April, the Food Department had sent legal notices to individuals, who were found ineligible to hold ration cards. The department had said that the names of waiting list applicants will be added to the rolls once the deletion process will be complete. According to the National Food Security Act, the number of individual ration card holders are capped at 72.78 lakh in the national capital. There are around 2,145 fair price shops in Delhi. The distribution of food and other materials of ration through the e-PoS system was suspended in April following complaints of irregularities.