Mail News Service Agencies
Imphal, June 21 : Opposition Members today called upon the government to make essential items made available to the people. The members raised issues related to consumer affairs, food and public distribution during discussions for demands for grants of three departments. The House discussed and passed demands for Consumer Affairs of Rs 21 cr, for Animal Husbandry of Rs 81 cr and for Justice of Rs 21 cr.
Consumer Affairs Minister M Okendro said quantity of wheat given to a BPL card holder per month is 1.04 kg. He said there are 1.02 lakh BPL card holders and 2.4 lakh AAY card holders in the state. Only 20 percent of the beneficiaries have valid cards he added. Kh Joykishan said there is discrepancy in the amount of rice and wheat given to the general public.
RK Imo said there is lack of supervision and the benefits are mostly taken by middlemen. He demanded establishment of a strong vigilance squad. The entire distribution system should be computerised so that there is no room for misappropriation he said. He further said undeserving people hold BPL cards and there is a need for complete review of the card distribution system.
Th Biswajit demanded the distribution system should be made accountable. He also demanded framing of proper pony and fish policies. Fifty percent of the PDS items which were meant for distribution to the people living below poverty line (BPL) went missing while delivering to the authorized agents by the officials of the from the consumer affairs, food and public distribution (CAF&PD) of the state government, opposition leader Dr I Ibohanbil Singh alleged.
The opposition leader brought the matter in the house of the Assembly while moving a policy cut motion to the discussion for passing of the demands for grant of the consumer affairs, food and public distribution.
He said, “There is a leakage between CAF&PD and the agents before distributing to the beneficiaries. Everyone even a minor knows it and yet nothing to improve the distribution system was seen taken up from the government side.”
Ibohalbi further alleged that PDS items have been deducting by various groups both legal and illegal. He was referring to the deduction of percentage by the militant groups and other powerful NGOs in the name of raising funds for each group.
Asserting that at present a total of 1,66,000 households in Bishnupur district where he belongs were benefitting under the PDS as per an assessment done in 2000, Dr Ibohalbi stressed the need for re-assessment for verification of the beneficiaries. Joykishan said itemallocation of the PDS should be done as according to the demand from the district or constituencies. He said that there were more demands of wheat in his constituency and the government should allot more wheat quantities as according to the demands.
Contradicting to the observations made by the opposition members, minister for consumers affairs food and public distribution, Moirangthem Okendro said that people in his constituency were getting all their share of PDS items since the last three four years in his reply. He also informed that at present there are 2, 40, 593 APL, 1, 20, 400 BPL and 63, 600 AAY card holders in the state and the total number of households is 4, 07, 152.
Indicating the need for the representatives in ensuring the public getting their share of the PDS items, Okendro said people should be alerted always time in the matter of the distribution of the PDS item. He said after the Food Security Act come into force there would raise no question of depriving the rights of the beneficiaries.
However, he stressed the need for awareness of the PDS and benefits that could be received by the BPL families before enforcing the Act. Questioning the credibility of the MLAs while ensuring voters of their respective constituencies in getting the share of the PDS items, the minister said that he had information of the price hike of rice in the markets.
“This is an artificial one which is being played by some vested interested business men,” the minister said, adding that government was considering for a mechanism for effective checking of artificial price hike of essential commodities in the state with a stringent law to award befitting punishment to those offenders.
Chief Minister, O Ibobi informed that there is no village recognised as scheduled caste village however S C certificates were issued as per provisions laid down by the Constitution. Earlier SC certificates were only of six villages but it was gradually increased he said.
Transport Minister Kh Ratan informed the House that in 2011, 39 vehicles were damaged during economic blockade and so far compensations were given to 29 vehicle owners.
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