Workers of Delhi staged a one-day dharna in the offices of the Delhi government food and civil supplies department on 17 February 2010 to demand the immediate issuing of ration cards to those who were below the poverty line. The dharna was organized under the banner of the Delhi Council of the Lok Raj Sangathan.
It may be recalled that in 2007 and early 2008, the above department had issued a public notice for renewal of BPL cards of those holding them. Following this advertisement, workers filled a form for renewal of their BPL cards and also deposited their old cards. 3 year later, the government has issued new cards to only 50% of those who deposited them. This is in complete violation of the rule that the government had to issue the new cards within one month of the depositing of the old card. As a result, thousands of workers, deprived of ration cards, have been running pillar to post, desperate to get back a card.
Participating in the dharna were large contingents of women, men and youth from the Lok Raj Samitis of Tughalkabad Area —New Sanjay Camp, Sanjay Colony and Gola Kuan. There were many workers from Jahangirpuri, Gokulpuri, Mongolpuri, Govindpuri, Burari who too participated enthusiaastically. The protestors carried placards denouncing the Delhi Government and the ration card issuing department, and demanding a universal public distribution system as a right of all Indians.
Addressing the dharna, the Secretary of the Delhi Council of LRS Birju Nayak declared that LRS was fighting for the right to food for all the people of our country. Earlier too, on July 28, 2009, LRS had organized a militant protest on the issue. With the skyrocketing prices, ration cards have become crucial for the workers.
He explained that within the present system, only the interests of the exploiting classes was defended. Working masses must have no illusions that their concerns would be seriously addressed. That is why LRS is working for an alternative to the present system, in which the working masses would hold political power—it is fighting for lok Raj.
A 4-member delegation met the concerned senior government officials and submitted a memorandum. They were assured that ration cards would be issued within 15 days to those who had submitted their names. The dharna decided unanimously to step up the agitation if the government failed to fulfill its assurance.