Travel expenses since March pegged at Rs 22 lacs
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 22: The travel expenditure of Ministers and MLAs since March 7 this year has crossed Rs 22 lakhs, informed Chief Minister O Ibobi who also holds the Finance portfolio.

Replying to a query raised by Heirok AC MLA N Sovakiran today, the Chief Minister said that of the total travel expenditure Rs 2,00,340 were expended for international tours undertaken by the Ministers while MLAs' tours accounted for Rs 15,62,414.Joining in Dr Nimaichand Luwang contended that the question of MLAs being paid travel allowance for tours conducted inside Manipur does not arise as no MLAs have undertaken a tour of the State.

On being told that the tour also includes the allowance being paid to the MLAs for attending the Assembly session, Dr Nimaichand Luwang said there has been no such practice ever since the beginning of the term of the 8th Assembly.

He said the allowance should be termed as Day Allowance which is paid to the MLAs for attending the Assembly session.

The matter was put to rest after it was agreed that the error would be rectified in the Speaker's chamber.

MLAs are paid Rs 250 per day for attending the Assembly session while MoS are paid Rs 300 and Cabinet Ministers take home Rs 350 per day.

Antodaya Anna Yojna: FCS Minister Ph Parijat assured to take up fitting action if any evidence is found that rice distributed under the Antodaya Anna Yojna has been siphoned off.

The Minister gave this assurance following a strong stand taken by Singjamei AC MLA I Hemochandra that rice under this scheme has been diverted by some elements.

Hemochandra said that he has hard evidence to show that the poorest of the poor who were to be given 35 kilos of rice were instead given only 10/15 kilos under the scheme.

Vindicating Hemochandra's stand, Sekmai AC MLA N Biren said that it has come to his notice the rice meant to be distributed under this scheme has not been distributed to the beneficiaries.

Khurai AC MLA Bihari also pitched in and said that rice under this scheme is not distributed properly in his constituency.

Replying to the main question raised by Hemochandra, the PCS Minister said that save for Imphal East, drawing up the list of beneficiaries in the other districts have been finalized and distribution is going on smoothly.

The Imphal East list could not be finalized as there were some conflicting claims in the beneficiary list.

Parijat further said that the scheme was implemented in January and each card holder was given 25 kilos of rice each till March.

However from April the rice quota was increased to 35 kilos each, he added.

The total beneficiaries under this scheme in Manipur is 25,500.Threats from unidentified men: Contending that no work has been taken up at the Chajing Pukhri Achouba road in Langthabal constituency even though the work order was issued a long time back, O Joy said that when steps were taken up to replace the agency entrusted to take up the work.

Government officials received threats from unidentified persons.

Joy further questioned why the Government is keeping mum over the whole affair.

Works Minister Gaikhangam assured that the Government will look into the matter and take up appropriate measures.

He however added that the Government has received no information of the threat being served to Govt officials on the matter.

The Minister further said that the estimated cost of the work is Rs 1.99 lakhs while the work order was issued on March 31, 2000 and work was to start on April 10 the same year.