Hyderabad: Members of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) on Monday staged a dharna in front of the office of the Chief Rationing Officer (CRO) in Secunderabad demanding issuance of new ration cards.
They demanded that the Telangana government start issuing ration cards, which they alleged has been on hold from many years. “It’s pure neglect. They want to fully shut down the ration system,” said Vani, a CITU member. “It’s been 8 years since new ration cards have been issued. A lot of poor people in the state are dependent on old ration cards.”
Protestors at the scene demanded that new ration cards be issued for all the eligible poor people who have applied in the past eight years, along with new couples. “The Telangana government has to issue ration cards,” said Eswar Rao, state CITU leader.
“I lost my son in a road accident last year,” said Raziya Begum, a protestor. “His wife and three children live with me now. My husband has heart disease and needs constant medical help. My household runs on the money I make by cooking in people’s houses. Any support from the government can create a big difference,” she said.
“I have a ration card, with which I get about 10 kgs of rice per month. This is not enough for three adults and three children. Even if it was, the rice is nearly inedible,” said Raziya. Other women chipped in and that with the ration card, they get rice that is broken, has rocks and insects, and turns into mush when boiled.
“Children don’t eat it. Adults find it hard to digest as well. Pedhollam kabatti emaina thintam ani anukuntunnaremo vallu (They think that because we are poor, we will eat anything),” said Annamma, another protestor.
Javed, a local leader of the DYFI from Telangana said it is high time for the Telangana government to listen to their demands. “They have to give not just rice, but 14 other essentials like pulses, oil, sugar, kerosene and spices. The government has a duty to provide necessary commodities to the poor,” he added
At the fag end of the protest, officials from the CRO’s office met with representatives of the three protesting public unions. AIDWA leader Nagalakshmi said, “They said that their hands are tied. They will forward our grievances to the government. But this is something they say every time we protest.”