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'Discriminatory treatment', says Delhi Minister on ration delivery scheme

New Delhi, Oct 11 (IANS) Delhi's Food and Civil Supplies Minister Imran Hussain on Monday wrote to Union Minister Piyush Goyal over Delhi government's doorstep delivery of ration scheme, questioning the Central government as to why Delhi is being singled out for "discriminatory treatment" and implementation of the scheme being prevented.

"We received a letter from Department of Food and Public Distribution of the Central Government that says that doorstep delivery of ration scheme of Delhi government is against the provisions of National Food Security Act (NFSA) and therefore should not be implemented," Hussain wrote.

The letter to the Delhi government was issued by the central government on a representation made by an association of ration shopkeepers of Delhi -- Delhi Sarkari Ration Dealers Sangh (DSRDS).

Earlier, the shopkeepers association had also approached Delhi High Court, seeking a stay on the very same grounds.

"However, Delhi High Court did not accept their grounds and refused to grant stay and allowed Delhi government to implement the scheme," the letter read.

Delhi High Court on September 27 allowed the government to stop supplying food grains to Fair Price Shops (FPS) for those who have opted for doorstep delivery over the physical collection.

Hussain further wrote that he is surprised to receive a letter from central government in wake of Delhi High Court's order and questioned, "Why Delhi is being singled out for discriminatory treatment and objections are being raised to prevent the implementation of a scheme which is undeniably and irrefutably in the public interest and will subserve the needs of the most downtrodden and marginalised sections of society."

The doorstep delivery of ration is already being carried out in Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana.

The Central government is requested to withdraw the letter, he added.

Both the Delhi government and Centre are in a tug of war over the implementation of the ration scheme for months now. Recently, files on the scheme were sent to Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal for his approval.