The Delhi government on Saturday alleged that the Centre has blocked its doorstep delivery scheme for the distribution of ration and called the move “politically motivated”, reported PTI.

In a statement, the chief minister’s office claimed that Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal returned the file on the delivery programme on June 2, saying that the scheme cannot be implemented. The statement said that the scheme would have benefitted 72 lakh ration cardholders in the national capital.

“The LG has rejected the file for implementation of doorstep delivery of ration citing two reasons – the Centre is yet to approve the scheme and an ongoing court case,” read the statement.

However, Delhi Food Minister Imran Hussain claimed that according to law, no approval is required for launching such a scheme. “More than six letters were sent to the Centre by the Delhi government since 2018 informing them of the scheme,” he said. “Citing of an ongoing court case, wherein no stay has been ordered to stop the rollout of such a revolutionary scheme makes it clear that this decision is politically motivated.”

As part of the scheme, every beneficiary is entitled to receive 4 kg of flour and one kg of rice at their doorstep.

The chief minister’s office said that the Delhi government had accepted all the suggestions made by the Centre and sent the file for final approval. The Delhi government had dropped the name “Mukhyamantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojana” after the Centre objected to it.

It said that the preparatory work for the implementation of the scheme was completed. Tenders were awarded, a letter of intent released and vendors appointed for doorstep delivery, the statement said.

“The Centre’s obstruction also severely compromises Delhi’s fight against a possible third wave of coronavirus,” it said. “People forced to stand in long queues outside ration shops may contract the infection and could pass it on to their children. Keeping this in mind, the Delhi government had fast-tracked implementation of this scheme.”

However, an unidentified official told PTI that the lieutenant governor has not rejected the scheme as claimed by the Delhi government but sent it back for reconsideration. “It has been advised again, like earlier on March 20, 2018, that since the proposal seeks to change the method of distribution, it would mandatorily require prior approval of Centre as per Section 12 (2) (h) of the National Food Security Act 2013,” said the official.

Besides this, the Delhi Sarkari Ration Dealers Sangh, a union of ration dealers, has moved the Delhi High Court challenging the proposed arrangement of doorstep delivery of ration by the Delhi government. The Centre is also a party to the case. The petition will be heard on August 20, reported News18.

The Delhi government had cleared the proposal to allow home delivery of ration to cardholders in July last year, reported NDTV. It had said that scheme would allow the delivery of rations of home, make visits to the shops optional and eliminate corruption.

However, the Centre had flagged concerns, including that the scheme could result in ration cardholders buying grains and other necessities at a higher rate than that fixed under a central law.