TODAY -
Rice import deal yet to take off
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, November 27 2010: Even though deadline for import of 30 metric tonne of rice from Myanmar at zero duty has been extended upto October 1 next year, the possibility of issuing requisite import license is said to be remote.

According to a reliable source, the deadline for import of 30 metric tonne of rice from Myanmar to Manipur on zero duty has been extended till October 1 next year by the notication number 102/2010-Customes issued by the the Ministry of Finance, Government of India.

But the extension of the deadline is not going to be of any use as possibility of issuing the import license is remote.

The No Objection Certificate for importing the rice from Myanmar had already been granted by the Director General of Foreign Trade, Government of India to Manipur Industrial Development Corporation Limited.

However, the actual importation has been delayed as import license has not been given.

While the Government of Manipur was exerting pressure on the Government of India for providing the required import license, the earlier deadline for importation of the rice at zero duty expired.

So, the Government of Manipur again requested for extending the deadline.

Accordingly, the deadline was extended upto October 1 next year.

Unfortunately, after the extension of the deadline, Guwahati-based Joint Director General of Foreign Trade received a letter from the Foreign Trade Development Officer, Director General of Foreign Trade, Government of India on September 30 with the directive that import license should not be given to Manipur Industrial Development Corporation Limited until further order from the Director General of Foreign Trade.

As restriction has been imposed on issuing the import license without giving any reason, the Government of Manipur is in a fix, the source added.

Meanwhile, North East Dialogue Forum in association with like-minded civil society organisations organised a mass rally cum public meeting where hundreds of people partcipated to protest against the EU-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA), at Moreh today.

The rally cum public meeting was organised in the context of the upcoming EU-India Business Summit in Brussels, Belgium to be held on December 10 .

Minority Women Development Association President Ms Mehrani, Kuki Women Union and Human Rights Secretary Ms Lucy, Nupi Khunai Chaokhat Lamjing Lup President Y Jyotila, Kha-Nongpok Apunba Nupi Lup President Kh Keinya Leima, ACODOM President RK Surendro, Meetei Council Moreh President N Ibohal, Manipuri Muslim Council President Md Hussain and Muslim Nagar Women Development Association President Jubeda Begum were the presidium members of the public meeting.

Aribam Joy Sharma of Forum for Indigenous Prespective and Ramananda Wangkheirakpam of North East People's Forum spoke in the meeting as resource persons.

Aribam Joy Sharma while speaking in the meeting said that the North East region would be flooded with cheap foreign goods once the agreement is enforced which would in turn give a big blow to State and Indian products.

He further added that promotion and production of indigenous items would face a huge discouragement as the agreement would allow free flow of foreign goods to India.

Joy added that the agreement would also limit India's ability to provide access to affordable medicines.

Later, a memorandum was submitted to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh through ADC Moreh.

The memorandum demanded for tabling a white paper in the Parliament on socio-economic and ecological impact of all aspects of the EU-India FTA specially addressing social inequality and discrimination.

The representation also pressed to make open and transparent of the agreement.

The memorandumm also said that free, fair and prior consent of the people especially farmers, women groups, indigenous people, health groups, people's organisations must be given prior information regarding the agreement.

It added that an independent commission to review FTA must also be set up.


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