The Odisha government has fixed a target of 1.88 lakh beneficiaries to be included under NFSA in the Berhampur corporation area, said officials.
Amid allegation of irregularities in distribution of ration cards in various parts of Odisha, Berhampur Municipal Corporation has launched a special drive to inquire into the eligibility criteria of applicants before issuing cards to people under National Food Security Act (NFSA) in the second phase.
The corporation was flayed for issuing the ration cards to several rich and influential people in the city. The corporation has received 15,000 fresh applications from people by December 31.
State's Housing and Urban Development Secretary G Mathivathanan on Wednesday reviewed the issue of the ration cards in Ganjam district, officials said.
He asked the authorities to issue the new cards to eligible persons after proper verification and take action against the ineligible ration card holders if they don't surrender the cards within deadline. The government has fixed January 15 deadline for surrender of the cards.
The tax collectors and community organisers, engaged for welfare of wards, have been asked to inquire eligibility of applicants by visiting streets.
A squad has also been formed by taking 20 such personnel. It will take a fortnight to cover all the 40 wards in the city, said Commissioner of the civic body Manoj Mohanty.
During their visit to the streets, the squad members will also check the eligibility of people, who have already got the ration cards, he said adding if any person is found guilty, First Information Reports (FIRs) will be lodged against him or her according to the government instructions.
The corporation has opened a toll-free number (18003456796) to receive complaints against ineligible people, who have got the ration cards. "The information will be recorded and probe initiated into the complaints," he said.
The commissioner said 41 people in the city have surrendered their ration cards so far. They include businessmen, government employees and contractors. More ineligible persons are expected to return their cards within the deadline, Mr Mohanty said.
While the government has fixed a target of 1.88 lakh beneficiaries to be included under NFSA in the corporation area, 1.20 lakh have received cards so far, he said.