Posted: 30 May 2011 06:05 PM PDT
In a unique move to curb corruption in the PDS system, the Bihar government will for the first time hold camps and video-record entire process of coupon distribution for 1.45 crore BPL families. The camps will be held at panchayat and block levels from June 1 to June 15. There is an instruction in place to sack any errant official right on-the-spot "without being served usual show-cause notice".
The government believes video-recording will work like CCTV cameras at bank ATMs and its video-grab can be referred to ensure veracity of a ration card holder.
The Food and Civil Supplies Ministry accepted that the camps were being held amidst rampant allegations of PDS coupon sale, right from block development officers to marketing officers to dealers and panchayat sevaks. Earlier, marketing officers would hand over ration coupons to dealers and panchayat sevaks for sale. The coupons for the entire year are sold sometime in May-June every year.
Bihar Food and Civil Supplies Minister Shyam Rajak said, "The most common complaint from people is about not getting the coupons. We are determined to stop illegal sale right at the distribution level."
The minister said the coupons, bar-coded from this time to help avoid duplicity, would be distributed at block and panchayat levels involving down-level village workers like tola sevaks, vikas mitras and panchayat sevaks. "The process will be duly advertised well in advance. Every ration card holder having photographs of entire family on the card will produce his/ her card before receiving the PDS coupons for the entire year by signing or putting thumb impression on government registers," said Rajak adding that video-cameras will focus mainly on distributors and coupon recipients and work like CCTV cameras at bank ATMs.
There will be also surprise checks by BDOs, district supply officers and other senior officials of Food and Civil Supplies departments at camps, added the minister. Rajak claimed that no other state had so far even held camps, let alone video-record the process, to distribute PDS coupons.
"We have also issued a circular till down levels making it clear that any official found selling coupons to wrong persons would be sacked right on the spot. The officials in-charge of respective camps will be also held responsible for any such slip-ups," said the minister.
Rajak said in case of any complaint, video-grab of panchayat concerned would be studied. The government will engage over 1,500 trained video-graphers for its camps.
The government has already introduced bar-coded coupons from this year to help curb corruption in PDS system by stopping duplicate coupons in circulation. A bar code on PDS coupons will be mix of customer card, unique coupon, dealer shop and customer BPL numbers.
Though coupons will be sold to card holders for full-year quota by marketing officers, it will be now district supply officers (DSOs) who will control and check veracity of coupons against customer complaints, on doubts or even run random checks through decoding machines. Earlier, complaints were dealt with at block levels.
There are over 45,000 PDS shops across the state. For 5,000-odd remaining shops, the government has also invited primary agriculture cooperative and credit societies (PACCS) and NGOs besides usual dealers.
Posted: 29 May 2011 10:25 PM PDT
Enraged at not finding the studio owner who owed him money, Anil Samrat fired a round in the air to scare the studio staffers
Bhojpuri actor Anil Samrat, who was associated with Lalu Prasad’s RJD for around 10 years and ran a liquor business in his home district Aara in Bihar before taking up a career in acting, opened fire at a city film studio while asking for whereabouts of the owner who had taken a loan from him. Acting on a complaint filed by studio owner Krushankumar Gupta, the police detained the actor for questioning yesterday morning and charged him with illegal possession of arms and attempt to murder.
When Samrat left the spot in a huff, the scared staff members called Gupta and narrated the incident to him. Gupta soon approached the police and registered a case of attempt to murder against the actor. The police officers have recorded the statements of Gupta and his employees present at the spot. “Gupta had taken Rs 1 lakh as loan from Samrat and had paid only half the amount. Gupta was to still pay Samrat around Rs 40,000 that led to the incident”, added Kane.
MiD DAY spoke to one of his country cousins who said that there had been no major criminal records against him. But he confirmed the actor used to be associated with people with criminal bac grounds as he ran a theka in Aara. He added that Samrat contested the assembly polls from Aara as an Independent candidate as the actor severed ties with Lalu and his party. He lost the election by 1,200 votes. Though Samrat shifted to Mumbai to make a career in films three years ago, his family still stays in Aara.
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