Slow start to computerised ration card project

Even as the state government is keen to launch the ambitious computerised ration card project, the district has seen only 45 per cent data (6 lakh entries) being fed into the computer. The district administration, which was trying hard to finish the job by December, is now hoping to complete the work in the coming year.

Foodgrain Distribution Officer (FDO) Dnyaneshwar Jawanjal blamed "technical glitches" for the delay.

"We had asked officials to collect data of people from various zones. Some people deposit their forms late while most of the times the computer crash, slowing the process of data entries. Since we have a huge number of ration card holders nearly 15 lakh the process of data entry is bound to take some time,'' said Jawanjal.

The plan was to have all the data ready online and issue computerised ration cards or smart cards that will have a unique bar code having all the details of the card holders. "Even as other districts are progressing, Pune has still a long way to go. The project should likely be completed in next six months,''said an official from the Public Distribution Office. Presently, there are 8.50 lakh ration card holders in the city and 7.50 lakh ration card holders in the rural parts of the district.

Earlier, as part of the verification drive carried out by the district administration, 2.9 lakh ration cards were blocked for non-submission of forms. The initiative was taken up to detect fake ration cards. The district administration after having a proper data entry system wants to keep touts at bay. "Once we have online data entries in place, we plan to issue computerised ration cards to beneficiaries which will weed out touts at the zonal offices,'' said an official from PDS office.

The entries have been currently uploaded to the main server and the work to upload data in offices is on. The administration is taking a weekly review of the work. The district administration is also keeping a check on those who have an LPG connection so that they do not avail kerosene. "The online system will enable us to have a proper record of those using kerosene. People with an annual income of over Rs 1 lakh should hold white coloured ration cards but it was noticed that they were still in possession of orange cards,'' said the official.

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