Updated on 30 Oct 2021, 1:04 pm
(Representational Image: Unsplash)
After six months of struggle for rice, Tokpaching village in Manipur's Kakching district recieved 160 bags of rice. The rice arrived in the village on Friday, the Human Rights Alert (HRA) stated.
Villagers of Tokpaching Laimamg Chandon Pokpi Leikai (Ward No IX/I) and Heidroipokpi Leikai (Ward No IX/II) of Arong Nongmaikhong Gram Panchayat, Kakching district, never got their full entitled amount of five kilograms of rice under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, HRA stated in a release issued by its executive director Babloo Loitongbam.
Similar amount under the Prime Minister’s Garib Kalyan Aana Yojna (PMGKAY) was never delivered, HRA stated.
“When they started demanding the full amount, the supply had 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.
As per the Manipur Food Security Rules, 2019 a formal complaint was filed to the deputy commissioner Kakching on July 5 but as no action was taken, on July 8, JAC petitioned the MHRC.
Following the MHRC question, the DC Kakching submitted an allegedly ineligible and fabricated enquiry report on July 31, listing 110 beneficiaries, it stated. After identifying the errors in the official report, the correct number of beneficiaries was submitted, it added.
On September 13, MHRC made a visit to the DC Kakching where the officials claimed that the irregularity is due to non-linking of Aadhar card and Priority Household card-holders, HRA mentioned.
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 eligible beneficiaries as per the requirement of NFSA and PMGKAY and to submit the compliance report to MHRC on October 7, it further stated.
The petitioner again promptly submitted the list of Aadhar linked beneficiaries who have not yet received the PDS items from April 2021. HRA stated that the DC and DSO did not distribute the PDS items nor did they submit the compliance report to MHRC.
“On October 11, JAC submitted an application to initiate 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,” HRA further stated.
The villagers had done everything to satisfy the MHRC at considerable cost to the poor villagers, but the slow progress and its overall insensitive attitude have tested the patience of villagers, it further stated.
So, the JAC organized a press conference at Tokpaching on October 22. “But even as the press conference was progressing, a police team led by the officer-in-charge of Arong Nongmaikhong Police Station dispersed that gathering on the pretext that it violates Covid protocol. The incident has clearly infuriated the already indignant villagers and this mode was widely reflected in the local media, including the social media. Causing much embracement to the authorities concerned,” HRA stated.
Hectic negotiation followed where the JAC stood firm for their rights and entitlement until the rice was finally delivered, it added.