In a stunning revelation through RTI, it’s revealed that many influential persons were illegally taking benefits of Below Poverty Line (BPL) in Himachal Pradesh.

Information gathered by RTI activists Dev Ashish Bhattacharya revealed that 5138 Panch, 4481 Ex-Panch, 442 Pradhans, 530 Ex-Pradhans, 22 Zila Parishad Members and 15 Ex-Zila Parishad Members were found listed in the BPL lists of Himachal Pradesh.

This information was received on 16/10/2012, exactly a year earlier, and Bhattacharya had filed a complaint to the Chief Secretary of Himachal Pradesh on 9/11/2012 for the initiation of the appropriate action. However, the Special Secretary Rural Development informed activist on 22/12/2012 that Secretary had directed all the Deputy Commissioners to initiate inquiry on complaint. But what is more surprising that in another RTI application, which was filled on 4/3/2013 to know the action taken report by all the Deputy Commissioners to implement the directions of the Special Secretary, no action taken report has been provided by the Deputy Commissioners.

However, Department of Rural Development has issued 3 reminders to the DCs to get the action taken report. However, now State Information Commission has issued notice to the department and case is fixed for hearing on 6/11/2013.

When talking to RTI activists Dev Ashish Bhattacharya, he said

all the Deputy Commissioners are under political pressure to not to initiate action. They issue statements, remove few of them and again keep quite. He said that real poor are not getting into the BPL lists and rich are manipulating their entry. Deputy Commissioners will have to be serious on this important issue, otherwise, the basic concept of this scheme to uplift the poor will get defeated

In the financial year of 2012-13, under various schemes for benefit of families living BPL, the government has allocated Rs. 29,151.89 crores. With the revelation in Himachal, where law and order believed to be under certain control, what can be expected in other states, which were found notorious for implementing many poor orienting schemes? Now UPA government has also launched its flagship food security scheme, which is aiming at poor people, if such irregularities found, then we can expect the fate and implementation of it.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.