Ration card holders from Kesare, R.S. Naidu Nagar and nearby localities staged a dharna outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office here on Wednesday. They were opposing the SMS-based ration card distribution and renewal system introduced by the Department of Food and Civil Supplies. The protesters demanded that simple procedures be introduced as poor people were unable to fulfil the conditions laid down by the department.
The department had asked existing ration card holders and fresh applicants to send Aadhaar and EPIC numbers to a designated phone number through SMS. July 15 was the last date to send the details. The residents, led by councillor Haseen Taj, said the new system had inconvenienced ration card holders, especially those who did not have mobile phones.
In a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, the councillor alleged that some persons were charging Rs. 20 to Rs. 50 from card-holders to send SMSs for them. The councillor also alleged that some fair price shops were denying card-holders rations if the biometric machines failed to read their thumb impression.