Tribune News Service
Solan, September 12
The Food and Civil Supplies Department has recovered about 50 per cent of the total penalty from 70 taxpayers, who have fraudulently got below poverty line (BPL) ration cards issued.
Data procured from the department state that of 143 such taxpayers, 70 have paid the penalty amounting to Rs 13,94,570 and Rs 12,40,326 was yet to be recovered from 73 such BPL card holders.
The BPL families in the state are eligible for subsidised ration under the public distribution system. Some of them were enlisted under the BPL category way back in 2013. Fearing action, most of the ineligible card holders have promptly deposited the penalty.
The department had detected ineligible BPL card holders comprising well-off taxpayers such as medical officers, assistant professors and lecturers. The action was taken after the Cabinet recently barred the taxpayers from availing of subsidised ration. “These ineligible ration card holders were issued show-cause notices and about 50 per cent of the penalty amount has been recovered till date from various districts,” said an official.
In Solan, Una and Lahaul and Spiti districts, all six ineligible card holders have paid the penalty amounting to Rs 185,114. The maximum of 47 ineligible BPL card holders have been detected in Kangra district but the penalty of only Rs 124,726 has been recovered from nine card holders. The situation is equally appalling in Shimla district where of the 23 ineligible BPL card holders, only seven have paid the penalty totalling Rs 91,896. In other districts, most of the ineligible card holders have paid the penalty.
In Chamba district, 20 of 27 ineligible BPL card holders have paid the penalty totalling Rs 3,95,205. In Bilaspur, five of seven ineligible card holders, six of nine such persons in Hamirpur, three of five in Kullu, six of seven in Kinnaur, seven of nine in Mandi and one of three ineligible card holders in Sirmaur have paid the penalty so far.
The state government has directed the SDMs to inquire whether these taxpayers have availed of other benefits such as employment under the BPL category. The possibility of them availing of subsidies under other government schemes and bank loans cannot be ruled out.