Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to overturn the Centre’s decision to block doorstep delivery of ration in the national Capital.
In his letter, Kejriwal assured Modi that the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi was willing to make changes to the scheme as per the Centre’s recommendations.
“I have supported you in all your work in national interest,” Kejriwal wrote. “You should also support us in this as this is also a matter of national interest.”
The letter came days after the chief minister’s office said on June 5 that Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal had rejected the file for implementation of the ration delivery scheme. The Delhi government also claimed that the scheme was blocked days before its implementation and also alleged that Baijal’s decision was “politically motivated”.
“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, an unidentified official told PTI that the lieutenant governor has not rejected the scheme, but sent it back for reconsideration.
In his letter to Modi on Tuesday, Kejriwal reiterated his claim that the Delhi government had sought permission from the Centre to implement the scheme, on five occasions. Kejriwal also claimed that as per the law, the Delhi government was not required to take permission from the Centre to implement the scheme, bit it did so to avoid a conflict.
He also objected to the Centre’s stand that the scheme was blocked as ration dealers had moved the Delhi High Court against the policy. Kejriwal said that the ration dealers wanted a stay but the Delhi High Court refused it.
“If the High Court did not grant a stay, how can the Centre stay the scheme?” Kejriwal asked.
In March, the Centre had blocked the scheme saying that the Delhi government was not allowed to use foodgrains allotted under the National Food Security Act for any state-specific scheme under a different name. The Delhi government had initially planned to brand the scheme as the chief minister’s initiative, under the name “Mukhya Mantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojana”.
In his letter, Kejriwal pointed out that his government agreed to drop the chief minister’s name from the scheme following the Centre’s objection, adding that he was not implementing the scheme to “take credit”.
The tussle between the two governments come at a time when hundreds of people, especially migrant workers severely hit by the lockdown, are struggling for food. On Saturday, the Delhi government began to distribute ration for people without ration cards. However, the Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan, a network of groups working to provide food to the needy, said that many people queued up for hours outside the distribution centers but were turned away and asked to come back on Monday.
Reports showed that several migrant workers who queued up outside the ration distribution centres said that they could not register for the scheme because the addresses on their Aadhar cards were of their native places.