A day after Arvind Kejriwal claimed the central government blocked its plans to launch doorstep delivery of rations, the Delhi Chief Minister today accused the centre of taking the step under the “influence” of the ration mafia, which he said has ensured that the “pro-poor and revolutionary scheme” does not get implemented in the national capital.
“Just two days before ‘Doorstep Delivery of Ration’ scheme’s implementation in Delhi, the central government stopped it. If pizza delivery can be allowed amid the Covid pandemic, then why not ration?” Mr Kejriwal asked.
“For the first time, a government had taken a step to check on ration mafia. See how powerful they (ration mafia) are, they got the scheme cancelled just a week ahead of its implementation,” he said.
Addressing a digital press conference, Mr Kejriwal also disputed the centre’s claim that his government did not take permission for the implementation of the scheme. “We took approval not just once, but five times. Legally, we don’t need Centre’s approval but we did so out of courtesy,” he said.
The doorstep ration delivery scheme, Mr Kejriwal said, would have benefitted 72 lakh ration cardholders in the national capital.
Citing the centre’s confrontation with West Bengal and Jharkhand governments, Mr Kejriwal said that the centre was playing politics instead of helping states battle the pandemic.
“Let me implement the scheme, I will give full credit to you (Prime Minister Narendra Modi). Ration does not belong to AAP nor the BJP. People want to read that Modiji and Kejriwal helped deliver ration to poor. With folded hands, I on behalf of 70 lakh poor people in Delhi request you to let us implement the scheme,” Mr Kejriwal said.
The implementation of the ration scheme is the latest episode of the tussle between the two sides that share responsibilities in the national capital.
On Saturday, the Delhi government claimed the lieutenant governor returned the file on the ration scheme stating the scheme cannot be implemented. The Central government, however, termed the allegation “baseless”.
“The file related to the notification of the scheme, proposed to be implemented through private vendors, has been returned for reconsideration to the chief minister by the LG,” news agency PTI reported quoting sources in the know of the development.
“The LG has rejected the file for implementation of doorstep delivery of ration citing two reasons — the Centre is yet to approve the scheme and an ongoing court case,” they said.
The Delhi government had cleared the proposal to allow home delivery of rations to all cardholders of the capital last year in July to implement one of the major promises made by the Aam Aadmi Party in the run-up to the assembly polls held in February.
The scheme called ‘Mukhya Mantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojana’ would let the beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 get the rations delivered home, making visits to the shops optional and eliminate corruption, the Delhi government had said.
The Delhi government had initially planned to roll out the scheme in March.