The Karnataka government on Monday asked people possessing Below Poverty Line (BPL) ration cards, despite being unqualified, and owning either a two-wheeler, TV, fridge or over five acres of land, to surrender them before March 31 or face legal action.
According to media reports, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Umesh Katti said at a press conference in Belagavi, “There are parameters for possessing a BPL card. They should not have more than five acres of land, motorcycle, TV, or fridge. Those who don’t qualify on these parameters should return the cards or else we will do it. Katti further said anyone earning more than Rs 1.20 lakh annually should not use BPL cards and has to return it before March 31.
Umesh Katti’s remarks were strongly criticized by the Congress party and party workers staged protests in front of various ration shops in Bengaluru. Party workers also protested in Dharwad, Mysuru, and Tumakuru, a Congress leader stated.
Congress MLA U T Khader, while slamming Kutti’s remarks, said that the issue had come up before him when he was the Food and Civil Supplies Minister in the Siddaramaiah government. However, he had decided not to relax the norms as many poor people would be affected.
Calling the BJP government ‘anti-poor’, Khader asked the Karnataka government to focus on identifying more beneficiaries instead of ‘snatching away’ their BPL cards. He further said that when there are offers like interest-free loans to purchase all these items, it was obvious that people would buy them.
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