Erabot brushes aside fear of food shortage
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 07 2010: During question hour on the first day of the Budget session of the Manipur Legislative Assembly today, Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Yumkham Erabot has reiterated that public should have no apprehension over possible food scarcity in Manipur as there is enough stock of rice that could last more than one month at the FCI godown at Sangaiprou.

In his response to a question raised by MLA Dr Ng Bijoy and the subsequent supplementary questions from MLA N Mangi and Dr Kh Loken, Y Erabot explained that inability of providing the allocated rice quotas to the members who have already deposited their money is because of the failure of the FCI.

Although there is rice in stock for more than one month, the same has not been distributed in view of the necessity to keep back atleast some quantity for emergency during natural calamity, the Minister said, while assuring that the rice would be distributed once the stock position improves.

Goods trucks line up along NH-53 to bring in goods

The Minister further said that even before the imposition of economic blockade along the National Highways, the entire allocated rice quota of the State could not be lifted following an extortion demand of Rs 50 lakh served to FCI.

Nonetheless, as one could not stay back just because FCI has not lifted the rice quota, the State Government has hired transporters for lifting the rice and now some of the transport contractors of FCI have also started lifting the rice.

The FCI officials who visited Imphal yesterday have also given the approval for transportation of the rice quota till the railhead of Jiribam, the Minister informed the House, Erabot said.

Asserting that there is policy for ensuring regular supply of PDS items to the people, the Minister said that the PDS items, the Minister further explained that the PDS items are purchased from FCI after making the payment in advance and the same is distributed among the card holder consumers through the fair price shops and retail outlets.

With regard to SK oil, the Minister said that to improve the stock position of kerosene, authorities concerned have been approached for allowing to lifting of the allocated SK oil quota from Guwahati. Along with releasing the Kerosene quota for upto April this year, mobile sale is also being arranged for the benefit of the people.

Efforts would be made for extending the mobile sale even to far flung area if the situation in the State improves and security arrangements can be taken care of, the Minister assured, adding that the steps would also be taken up for ensuring regular supply of their respective monthly kerosene quota to the MLAs.

On the existing stock position of petroleum products in the State, the Minister informed the House that Petrol would last for four days, diesel would last for six days and cooking gas would last for around 5 to 6 days.

As for kerosene, there is 3320 kilolitre in the stock at present, he added.

Earlier, MLA Dr Ng Bijoy, while demanding to know from where the PDS items are being brought and how it is being made available to the people, charged that the public are suffering today because of the absence a buffer stock.

He also alleged that the Department of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution does not follow any definite policies and planning in its functioning.

MLA Mangi complaint that MLAs have not been getting their monthly Kerosene quota of 3000 litre for the last 3 months but the public suspect that the Kerosene quota may have been sold off by the MLA themselves.

He also wanted to know when the rice quota against which the required monetary deposit have made would be allowed to be lifted.

MLA Dr Kh Loken while pointing out that PDS items including rice have not been available since May, drew the attention of the Minister on the possibility of utilisation from the existing stock of PDS items.

In response to another question raised by MLA Mangi, Public Health Engineering (PHE) Minister TN Haokip informed that house that arrangements have been made for power supply to the water supply schemes in Kumbi AC where erection for energization have been completed.

Side by side, steps have also been taken up for setting up new water supply schemes at Terakhong and Naodakhong villages.

However, necessary construction works on these water supply schemes have been halted following undue harassment from UG groups which are signatories of Suspension of Operation with the Government, the Minister informed the House.

Taking into account the lack of adequate staff, efforts are also being made for appointment of some SOs on contract basis, the Minister added.