The Assam government has been directed by the Gauhati High Court to identify ration card beneficiaries in the slum areas of Guwahati in localities such as Uzanbazar, Bharalumukh, Santipur and Bhutnath.
The court's directive came in the wake of a PIL filed by Syeda Mehzebin Rahman, a resident of the city, in regard to the issuance of ration cards to households in the slum areas of the city.
The court also directed to ensure that prompt support, in the form of food and day-to-day essentials, is provided to the families needing help in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
It was submitted that though some of the beneficiaries have been identified for the purpose of issuance of ration cards, as because the beneficiaries could not be identified by the concerned counsellor of the respective municipal boards, the matter could not be finalised.
The court also directed to ensure that prompt support, in the form of food and day-to-day essentials, is provided to the families needing help in view of the coronavirus pandemic.It was also submitted that since the election has not taken place in the Gauhati Municipal Corporation, there is no ward commissioner to identify the applicants.
"We are of the opinion that perhaps the inspector of food and civil supplies attached to the office of the deputy commissioner, Kamrup (Metro) or any such competent authority as the deputy commissioner may deem fit appropriate may identify such beneficiaries in absence of the ward commissioner," the order by the Bench of Justice N. Kotiswar Singh and Justice Malasri Nandi, read.
"This direction is issued only as a temporary arrangement," the order read.
The court further directed that para-legal volunteers District Legal Services Authority, Kamrup (Metro) should identify families who need help in view of the COVID pandemic and inform the Kamrup (Metro) deputy commissioner, who shall after confirmation, ensure that such families be given help immediately, in form of food and other day-to-day support promptly.
"The deputy commissioner, Kamrup (Metro) shall undertake the exercise within eight weeks by following the National Food Security Act, 2013 and the guidelines issued in that regard," the court said.