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Manipur group says PM’s free rice not reaching poor in 2 hill districts, blames black marketing

20 May 2024

GUWAHATI: A people’s rights group in Manipur alleged rice given for free to the poor under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) is not reaching the beneficiaries in two tribal districts due to black marketing.

The Movement for People’s Rights Forum, Manipur, alleged a nexus between some officials of the Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and a few transport contractors who has reportedly paralysed the monthly rice distribution system in Noney and Tamenglong districts.

It sought Chief Minister N Biren Singh’s immediate intervention to give relief to people affected by black marketing.

The Centre had decided to continue with the scheme for five years from January 1, 2024, for the benefit of about 81.35 crore beneficiaries.

“This is a historic decision that places the PMGKAY amongst the world’s biggest social welfare schemes aimed at ensuring food and nutrition security. Likewise, several schemes have been initiated in Manipur with an aim to bring prosperity and development, along with the noble idea to bridge the gap between the hills and the valley,” the forum said in a statement.

However, it added, in contradiction to these objectives and commitments, some officials of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in connivance with a few transport contractors are indulging in unlawful practices whereby large quantities of rice entitled to the beneficiaries are being sold in the black market, mainly in Tamenglong and Noney districts, thereby depriving the basic rights of the beneficiaries.

“Even among those who are aware of PMGKAY, there are reports of inequitable distribution and favouritism in the allocation of benefits. This has led to further frustration and disillusionment among those who are in dire need of assistance,” the forum said.

It said the absence of PMGKAY benefits was disproportionately affecting the vulnerable groups such as low-income families, senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

It also said that the monthly rice was not distributed to the beneficiaries in July and November of last year and February, March, April and May of this year.

The beneficiaries urged the CM to initiate strict actions against the culprits as per the law and ensure the uninterrupted functioning of the scheme “within a stipulated period of one week before the matter escalates into a larger crisis”.

Source : msn