LAHORE - After the Food Stamp Scheme and Sasta Ramzan Bazaars, the Punjab government is again gearing up for yet another scheme of the Ration Cards, and for this, Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif will be chairing a meeting here on Saturday (today) with his officials apparatus in attendance. Conceptually, a wartime-approach-ration stamps or card is a booklet issued by a government allowing the holder to obtain certain rations. The cards are used to provide goods to the poor sections of the society at highly subsidised prices. Secondly, this is not for the first time that this scheme is being initiated here, as earlier it was done prior to the Ayub Khans era when sugar crisis made the government issue ration booklets to the people. This continued till the fag end of the Zia regime, when it was closed down. According to sources, the top bosses of the province believe that if the ration card scheme is being successfully run in 11 states of India and some parts of Bangladesh, then the same could be done here. It is perceived that the same formula will be applied here as well. However, it is being believed that it will further burden the administration to make the scheme successful, whereas another class of both beneficiaries and the downtrodden will be created, and both will be asking the government for more favours. Secondly, this will initiate yet another era of tall claims and media pep-cum-campaign, which will be further eroding the already-shrinking public exchequer. Thirdly, the scheme will be highly politicised one because 'little leaders will definitely try to benefit from the scheme. This list is endless considering that fact that at the moment, the most corrupt is the mafia involved in the edibles business. The government must come up with substantial long-term scheme instead of indulging in short-term gains and publicity gimmicks because failure of any such idea brings bad name to the government ultimately, averred an officer of the provincial Food Department, who is a strong believer of the futility of any such idea, including Food Stamp Scheme and Sasta Ramzan Bazaars. A source, who is privy to the developments, confided that CM would be chairing meeting regarding price control and the ration card, while the latter is being discussed for the first time. The meeting will be aiming at evolving a foolproof system for providing edibles on subsidised rates to people with fewer resources, and to ultimately come up with a solution to resolve the problems being faced by the masses in getting food items at comparatively less rates. The CM is of the view that the scheme could be run successfully as it is being done in India and Bangladesh, said the source, while himself raising the point that conditions were pretty different here. We do not have well-established IT network in the province, and keeping this in mind, it will be definitely difficult to keep the track of things, which will certainly lead to more corruption among the lot working behind the scheme because registers and ration booklets could be filled in with fake names, and huge quantities of edibles, he opined. While talking about the much-trumpeted Food Stamp Scheme and Sasta Ramzan Bazaars, he said one could not assert that both the schemes had totally failed, as the government had only closed additional points of Ramzan Bazaars, while the rest were continuing. Moreover, the government had collected data of about two million needy individuals, and they would qualify to become ration cardholders. When quizzed about having minimum of 10,000 ration points across the Punjab and issuance of licences to 'proprietors, and the consequent involvement of politicians, he observed that corruption could not be ruled out. Yes The administrative machinery will be further burdened by this scheme as well, whereas the former is already limping along owing to the fact that it is marred by less officers and officials with additional charges of vacant posts, he opined, while keeping mum about creating yet another class of ration card holders queuing up outside ration depots, and certainly perhaps, later on cursing the govt for turning them into beggars.