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Khadya Sathi coupons for sex workers & transgenders now valid till Dec 31

KOLKATA: The state Food and Supplies department on Thursday extended the validity of special coupons for the sex workers and transgenders for a further six months period till December 31 so that they continue to derive the benefits of dry ration.

The Secretary of Durbar Mahila Sammanay Samiti- an organisation of sex workers, had sent an email to a top official of the department stating that ration dealers are refusing to offer ration to these categories against Khadya Sathi special coupons that were issued last year.

In August last year, the Food department had issued a notification stating that Khadya Sathi special coupons issued to sex workers and transgenders should be valid till June 2021.

However, on learning about such denial, the department took immediate action.

Concerned officials of Kolkata North and South have been directed to enquire into the complaints of denial and take action against dealers flouting government directive and send a report by June 10.

There are over 4 lakh sex workers across the state, as per figures of State Legal Services Authority that was formed to coordinate with the government to ensure that not a single sex worker or transgender is deprived of his/ her share of ration. "We had told the District Magistrates to take measures for issuing digital ration cards for these category in their respective districts and issue food coupons till they do not receive such cards so that they are not deprived of their share of ration during the pandemic," a senior official in the department said.

But it was found that some of them did not possess aadhar card and hence ration cards could not be issued.

"Considering the fact that they are also in severe distress, the concerned officials have been directed to extend the validity of their coupons for six months so that they continue to get their allotted share of food grains," the senior official added.

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