DAUSA: The yellow-and-red message in Hindi reads: “I am extremely poor and take rations under NFSA.”
“I was so ashamed … that I refused to get it written. But the painter insisted and said I will not get the BPL benefits if I don’t get it painted on my house,” said Suresh Meena, a 40-year-old labourer in Hingi village.
The man got the line painted on the wall of his cowshed, not on his house. His village has nearly 100 houses and more than 80% bear the sign. The villagers don’t want to “advertise” their poverty. “The message was written on my wall but we removed it. It is very insulting,” said Janak Ram, 28, a driver in Hingi.
The message on the wall is believed to be a strategy to mark out homes receiving the government’s food handout amid allegations of corruption and pilferage in the programme.
The government provides cheap grain to 67% of its population of 1.3 billion under National Food Security Act (NFSA).
Mamta Meena, the sarpanch of Pilodi panchayat, said the food supply department directed around six months ago to write the line on homes of all beneficiaries, apparently to check fake people on the “BPL” list from getting the benefits.
However, Dausa district supply officer Mahendra Singh denied his department issuing any such order. The zila parishad CEO, RS Kavia, did not respond to calls for comments.
Additional collector KC Sharma too denied the district administration giving such a directive. “The zila parishad or the gram panchayat could have issued the directive as there were complaints of misuse of the food security act by ineligible people. I will look into this complaint,” he said.