Officials from the Food Distribution Office initiated an inquiry against the owner of a fair price shop in Wadarvadi after he was accused of black marketing food grains and kerosene, originally meant for the beneficiaries of the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) scheme, in the open market.
Cornered: Angry locals gheraoed Ramesh Dongare in Wadarvadi yesterday, accusing him of giving them less than what they are eligible for under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana
The alleged incident came to light after a Congress party leader saw Ramesh Dongare, owner of shop number 154 (K), handing over 40 bags of food grains to an unknown person around 2 pm yesterday.
Workers surreptitiously move sacks of grains from Dongare’s ration shop. Pic/Mohan Patil
However, the shopkeeper had shut the shop and fled the area before the officials could reach the shop and question him.
Those who purchased ration supply from Dongare accused him of giving them less than what they are eligible for under the AAY. They claimed that this has been happening for the last couple of months.
But the action was initiated only after the locals took to the street, and the intervention of the Congress Pune district general secretary Javed Nilgar. “The (FDO) officials are aware that this shopkeeper cheats residents, but they never looked in to the matter,” said Nilgar.
“This shopkeeper has been denying me food grains for the last couple of months just because I don’t have an account in a nationalised bank. I have already submitted copies of PAN and Aadhaar cards, along with the copy of the passbook of my account in a cooperative bank. Despite having a ration card, I’m being denied food grains,” said Sheetal Mane, whose husband works as a daily wager.
Dnyaneshwar Suryawanshi claimed that when his daughter-in-law went to Dongare’s shop, he gave her just two litres of kerosene instead of five. “We are entitled for five litres of kerosene per month, but whenever we asked for the full quota the shopkeeper would shoo us away,” he added.
Many others claimed that Dongare cheated them by falsely marking ‘yes’ on their ration cards in the slot that asked if they had gas connections. “He used this dirty trick to deny most of us our full quota of kerosene,” said Lata Netke.
The supply observer of circle office at the FDO, Prashant Mistry, visited the spot after locals. “When I went to inspect, the shop was shut. But I managed to speak to the person to whom Dongare gave bags of food grains. I will submit my report to the District Food Distribution Officer Dhanaji Patil and then he will decide the further course of action,” said Mistry.