TODAY -

PDS rice in Tokpaching after six months' struggle: HRA
Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, October 29 2021: Human Rights Alert has congratulated villagers of Tokpaching after 160 bags of PDS rice reached Tokpaching village on Friday morning after six months of struggle by the locals to receive their entitled five kilograms of PDS rice.

In a release, HRA executive director Babloo Loitongbam stated that villagers of Tokpaching Laimang Chandon Pokpi Leikai (Ward No 9/1) and Heidroipokpi Leikai (Ward No 9/2) of Arong Nongmaikhong Gram Panchayat, Kakch-ing district, never got their full entitled quantity of 5 kg rice under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 nor similar quantity under the Prime Minister's Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana(PMGKAY).

When they started demanding the full quantity, the supply was totally stopped since April 2021 .

Thereafter, the villagers came together under the banner of Joint Action Committee (JAC) Tokpaching and put up a brave fight for their right, it added.

HRA continued that as per the Manipur Food Security Rules, 2019 a formal complaint was filed to the deputy commissioner (DC), Kakching on July 5 .

But as no action was taken, on July 8, the JAC petitioned the MHRC.

Following the MHRC questioning, the DC Kakching submitted an illegible and fabricated enquiry report on July 31, listing 110 beneficiaries.

The petitioner promptly identified the errors in the official report and submitted the correct number of beneficiaries, it said.

HRA mentioned that on September 13 MHRC made a visit to the DC Kakching where the officials claimed that the irregularity was due to non-linking of Aadhaar card and Priority Household card-holders.

Thereafter the MHRC passed an order directing the DC and district supply officer, Kakching to ensure that the required rice be distributed to all the illegible beneficiaries as per the requirement of NFSA and PMGKAY and to submit the compliance report to MHRC on October 7.The petitioner again promptly submitted the list of Aadhaar linked beneficiaries who have not yet received the PDS items from April 2021.The DC and DSO did not distribute the PDS items nor did they submit the compliance report to MHRC.

On September 11, the JAC submitted an application for initiating legal proceedings against wilful disobedience of MHRC's recommendation.

However, the MHRC, instead of taking action against the authorities, caved in to their pressure and liberally allowed the compliance report to be filed on October 29, it alleged.

HRA claimed that the villagers had done everything to satisfy the MHRC at considerable cost of the poor villagers, but the slow progress and its overall insensitive attitude had tested the patience of villagers.

Consequently, the JAC organised a press conference at Tokpaching on October 22, but even as the press conference was progressing, a police team led by the ofhcer-in-charge of Arong Nongmaikhong police station dispersed that gathering on the pretext that it violates Covid protocol, it stated.

HRA further conveyed that the incident clearly infuriated the already indignant villagers, whose sentiment was widely reflected in the local media, including the social media, causing much embarrassment to the authorities concerned.

Hectic negotiation followed where the JAC stood firm for their rights and entitlement, it said.

HRA said that finally, on Friday morning the villages' struggle bore fruit and rightfully their PDS rice has been given to them.


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