Mandatory digitisation is causing immense pain and suffering to thousands of leprosy affected people in the state generally and Mayurbhanj district in particular. Since Aadhaar has been linked with ration cards to identify the actual beneficiaries, the leprosy patients are worst affected as their fingers have shrunk owing to the disease. This is why they have not been able to give their finger prints and thumb impressions. “I face a lot of problem in getting ration due to the biometric system. Earlier, we were easily getting the essential commodities from the fair price shop,” lamented a ration card beneficiary affected by leprosy, Nisamani Mahanta. “We are also facing problem in identifying the actual beneficiaries when people with disfigured fingers come for ration. Their fingers hardly clear the verification under the present Aadhaar card verification system. Left with no choice, we are presently using the manual process to issue ration during  distribution,” said a fair price shop owner, Manas Ranjan Patra. Kishore Kumar Patra, the district civil supplies officer, said that mobile numbers of some beneficiaries have already been added to the ration cards of those who faced finger print issues. The government has, however,  been informed about the problem faced by the beneficiaries and owners at the ration shops. “We have urged the government to chalk out an alternative to the biometric system for the people affected with leprosy,” added Patra. Meanwhile, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Surya Narayan Patro said that the leprosy affected people are not prohibited from getting the benefits. “We are ensuring all leprosy patients and others who have such issues get ration without any hassle,” said Patro. A total of 26 blocks in the district have thousands of leprosy patients with Ward No 22 of Bhadrak alone having over 1000 leprosy affected people. The Odisha TV : 12th. Jan,18


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