Despite curbs, Oppn stages statewide protests - ECAS Punjab

Despite curbs, Oppn stages statewide protests

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Restore blue cards: SAD

Tribune News Service

Bathinda/Ropar, June 18

The SAD-BJP workers today staged a protest against the cancellation of blue cards at the district administrative complex, Bathinda, and in Ropar.

Rift in SAD-BJP?

In a major embarrassment for the district leadership of SAD, all senior district BJP leaders today left a joint protest midway held outside the DC office. They alleged that they were not given equal respect and the Akalis made the protest SAD-centric. However, after being persuaded by the Akali leaders, the BJP leaders relented and submitted a joint memorandum to the Deptuty Commissioner.

The demands included an inquiry into the alleged scam in the distribution of dry ration among poor during the lockdown and restoration of blue cards. A memorandum of demands was submitted to the Governor via the Deputy Commissioner.

Sikandar Singh Maluka, former senior SAD leader, said, "In the garb of verification of beneficiaries, a number of blue cards were cancelled in the state. People from poor families are running from pillar to post to get their cards restored. The cards were introduced during the SAD regime to ensure that poverty-stricken families could avail ration at a subsidised rate."

The protesters said while the Central Government provided adequate ration for needy people during the lockdown, but due to the cancellation of blue cards, many people couldn't avail the benefit. A petition was also filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court regarding the matter, following which the state government gave an assurance of conducting an inquiry into the matter.

Former cabinet minister and SAD spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema said thousands of blue cards had been deleted in each constituency due to petty political considerations by Congressmen.

Cheema also sought an audit of the ration sent by the Centre for distribution among the poor.

He said Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had recently demanded the scheme be extended for another six months. However, there were complaints that the ration received by the state during the lockdown was misappropriated by the Congress leaders, he said.

An immediate action against Congressmen responsible for liquor, seed and ration scams has also been sought. Cheema demanded waiver of power bills of both domestic and industrial consumers for the lockdown period.

from The Tribune

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