Mangaluru, Sep 11, 2018: It was three months ago that Lakshman Naik, a resident of Volamogaru village in Puttur, filed an application with the Food and Civil Supplies Department seeking cancellation of the above poverty line card and issuance of below poverty line card that will ensure free ration to his family in the name of his 14-year-old daughter Reshma Ajjikallu, an endosulfan victim.
“Officials say they will get back to me once they receive orders from the State government,” said Mr. Naik, who, along with his wife, is taking care of their daughter who has 80% disability.
Similar is the condition of Ramesh Gowda from Kanyadi village in Belthangady, whose 18-year-old son Ashwath, an endosulfan victim, has 90% disability. “I have lost count of the visits to Mangaluru to know of the action on the application filed four months ago,” he said.
Mr. Naik and Mr. Gowda are among the many family members of endosulfan victims from Dakshina Kannada who are yet to receive free ration as promised by the State government. Providing free ration was among the seven relief measures for the victims announced by the State government through a notification on August 31, 2013. This notification was issued following directions by the High Court of Karnataka. The then Food and Civil Supplies Minister U.T. Khader announced in 2016 that all endosulfan victims would be brought under the BPL category and given ration.
The then Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner K.G. Jagadeesha in June 2017 directed the Deputy Director of Food and Civil Supplies to arrange for BPL cards for all endosulfan victims by August 15, 2017. While Arun Kumar B., nodal officer for endosulfan relief in Dakshina Kannada claimed that many of the victims in the district are receiving free ration after getting BPL cards, Endo Virodhi Horata Samiti convener Sridhar Gowda said many are yet to receive the cards. “Difficulty in getting biometric readings is one among the reasons for which the victims’ families are not getting BPL cards,” Mr .Gowda said.
No official order
In response to a query by activist Sanjeeva Kabaka, Deputy Directors of Food and Civil Supplies from Udupi and Dakshina Kannada and Assistant Director of the department from Uttara Kannada, in separate replies in August, said there was no specific orders by the State government so far to give ration free or on cost to endosulfan victims.
However, M.R. Bhat, Deputy Director from Udupi, said ration was being given to victims who are already holding BPL cards.
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