ON SEPTEMBER 12, 2006 the Madhya Pradesh High Court issued notices to the Union and state governments on the removal of 21,00,000 families from the below poverty line (bpl) list.
The order came in response to a public interest litigation filed by a number of ration card holders. They claimed their right to procure foodgrains at minimal prices from the Targeted Public Distribution System (tpds) shops which cater solely to ration card holders from bpl families. The government decision to remove them from the list has stopped their access to tpds shops and therefore affordable food. The state government removed the 21 lakh ration card holders from the bpl list out of a total of 48.74 lakh bpl families in the state in an order issued on May 27, 2006.
The Union government, state food and civil supplies department and others have to reply within four weeks.
The plaintiff's counsel contended that the Programme Evaluation Organisation (peo) of the Planning Commission of India has decided on a formula to reduce the number of persons under bpl level receiving rations under tpds and also to reduce the number of such ration card holders to 36 per cent of the population of the state. But, for states like Madhya Pradesh, the number of bpl families are more than the maximum limit of 36 per cent fixed by peo. Nevertheless, the state government followed peo in formulating such a drastic way ahead.
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