Port Blair, Jul 12: The below Poverty Line List of Andaman and Nicobar Islands is almost 11 years old the last survey, for updating the list, was conducted in the year 1998 and the last BPL list was released in the year 2002.
According to the general procedure the BPL list is updated every ten years but it has been almost 11 years since the last list was published. Moreover, as the survey for the new list has not even been planned it seems that it would take another two or three years for finalization of new BPL list.
Meanwhile, due to the delay in the finalization of the new BPL list the genuine beneficiaries are at total loss. According to the statistics of the 2002 BPL list, there are about 15,768 households under Below Poverty Line in which there are about 67,068 residents.
School going children are the worst affected in this regard who are not able to take the benefit of Free Books. The school students are given free books only up till grade VIII and from grades IX to XII they have to produce their BPL ration card or BPL number to avail free books.
Destitute woman, widows and their family dependent are also among the worst affected due to non-updating of these lists. These helpless women and their family dependents survive on their day to day income and are clearly under the Below Poverty Line but their names do not figure out in the BPL lists because the according to the old BPL list, they are not BPL.
Poor Islanders with serious medical problem are also worst hit. In absence of BPL card they do not get free specialized treatment under BPL category in mainland hospital and for treatment they have to run from pillar to post.
The government servants today are well paid and get refund of tuition fees; cost of Books etc., but people who are really needy remain grossly neglected.
From the Administration’s side also it has been made clear that survey for preparing next BPL lists is not even in the pipeline.
Talking exclusively with Adnaman Sheekha, Mr. N.K Sharma, Secretary cum Director, Rural Development today said that the Administration is still waiting for orders from Concerned Ministry in this regard.
“The order for the BPL survey is given by the Ministry and we cannot conduct the survey until and unless the orders are received,” Mr. Sharma added.
Hope the new Lt. Governor will take up the matter with Government of India soon and get the new BPL list prepared at the earliest so that survival becomes a little easy for poor people.