TODAY -

HRA invites public response
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, April 25 2020: After Manipur High Court issued a notification yesterday inviting suggestions, comments and views from the public regarding PDS rice distribution in the State amidst lockdown due to COVID-19, Human Rights Alert (HRA) has appealed people to respond to the HC's invitation to effectively distribute the relief materials.

The HC invitation came after HRA filed a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) to ensure the effective and adequate distribution of essential commodities during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The HRA submitted reports of instances where several sections of population did not receive the relief items or received them in insufficient quantities.

It also raised the issues of spike in prices of essential commodities in open market and the implementation of various schemes of children and students, such as ICDS, ICPS and midday meal, said HRA in a statement issued by its executive director, Babloo Loitongbam today.

While holding the hearing on April 24, the Court passed an interim order directing the Govt of Manipur to respond to the following questions:

a) Who is authorized in law to distribute the PDS item including rice?
b) Whether the PDS rice of equal quantity has been distributed to all who are, at present, residing in Manipur as announced by the Chief Minister of Manipur?
c) If the answer to issue (b) above, is in the affirmative, what are the materials/documents available with the State Government to prove it?
d) If the answer to issue (b) above, is in the negative, who is responsible for it and has any action been taken by the State Government against him/her after an inquiry being held in this regard?
e) Is there any mechanism to regulate and monitor the distribution of PDS items including rice?
f) Is there any window for ventilation of grievance for non-availability of PDS items including rice by the general public during the ongoing lockdown either on phone or through email or WhatsApp?
g) Is there any mechanism to entertain and resolve any issue raised by the general public in time, when PDS items including rice are not received by them? .

The Court also observed that the above questions are not exhaustive but illustrative and any other issue arising out of the PIL shall also be considered by the Court.

HRA continued that the Government under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana is to provide 5 kilograms of rice per person per month free of cost for three months ie April, May and June.

There is also no maximum amount to be issued to a family.

Moreover, according to a Government order on April 2, the Deputy Commissioners are responsible for delivery of the rice to the fair price shops in the district concerned and mandatory distribution of the same without interference from any middleman in the entire process, said HRA.

In case any member of the public did not receive or received inadequate quantity of relief materials, grievances may be submitted to the Court via WhatsApp (9436204458) or send e-mail at rg.mnphc@nic.in or hcmefiling@gmail.com on or before May 4, said HRA appealing all concerned to send in their suggestions, views and comments regarding the distribution of the relief materials.


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