The Karnataka government on Monday asked people who possess Below Poverty Line (BPL) ration cards will no longer be eligible for subsidies on account of owning either a two wheeler, a television, refrigerator or over five acres of land. To this effect, the government asked these beneficiaries to surrender their BPL cards before March 31 or face legal action.
BPL card holders enjoy subsidised food supplies as part of the public distribution system.
"There are parameters for possessing a BPL card. They should not have more than five acres of land, motorcycle, TV or fridge. Those who don't qualify on these parameters should return the cards or else we will do it," Food and Civil Supplies Minister Umesh Katti said at a press conference in Belagavi.
He said anyone earning more than Rs 1.20 lakh annually should not use BPL cards and has to return it before March 31.
Opposition Congress reacted strongly against this decision and party workers staged protests in front of various ration shops in Bengaluru.
Party workers also protested in Dharwad, Mysuru and Tumakuru, a Congress leader said.
Congress MLA and former minister UT Khader said the issue had come up before him when he was the Food and Civil Supplies Minister in the Siddaramaiah government and he had decided not to relax the norms as many poor people would be affected.
He opined that when there are offers like interest free loans to purchase all these items, it was obvious that people would buy it.
‚ÄúThe government is 'anti-poor',‚ÄĚ he charged and asked them to focus on identifying more beneficiaries instead of 'snatching away' their BPL cards.