Santhel villagers threaten PIL against PDS failure

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IMPHAL, Oct 23: ‘Development’ has been a neglected issue in the Santhel village under Wabagai assembly constituency of Thoubal district which is about 30 kilometers from Imphal.

Santhel is predominantly a Muslim inhabited village with a population of about 4500. The village is deficit in all aspects of development. The people of Santhel have been living a hard life amidst negligence and apathy of the state government as well as their elected local representatives.

There are no proper education, transport, health and drinking water facilities in the village. Moreover, the public distribution system (PDS) has been a failure in the village for the past many months.

The people of Santhel have lots of grievance, but there is none to hear their voice for a better and sustainable livelihood.

Decrying the apathy of the state government towards the development of Santhel village, the Santhel villagers held a joint meeting today at Santhel Idigah Compound. The villagers poured out all their grievances at the meeting.

During the meeting, Md. Rahim stated that the people of Santhel have not seen even a single grain of rice distributed under PDS for the last many months, and they have almost forgotten the smell of kerosene oil which is an essential commodity for the villagers.

The local MLA as well as representatives of Panchayat have acted as silent spectators of the woes and sufferings of the villagers. The elected representatives have indeed marred the right to life of the people, he asserted.

A woman social-activist Nazma said that the villagers have organized themselves to form committee for monitoring the PDS and other welfare schemes, but some antisocial elements have hindered their works by serving threats and intimidations to the forerunners of the committee. The villagers have been terrorized by the acts of these people, she said.

The villagers will always fight for their basic rights such as food, health and education. The people of Santhel will no longer remain silent and they will fight for their rights at the highest level.

Most of the villagers expressed strong desire for streamlining the public distribution system which facilitates the people to get their essential commodities at subsidized rates. The villagers being economically backward rely on PDS items such as rice, sugar and kerosene which are being distributed every month through rationing agents appointed by the concerned FCS department, but the irregularities in this system have adversely affected them even leading to starvation in some cases.

The joint meeting held today also resolved to submit a memorandum to CAF& PD minister Y. Erabot regarding the non-availability of PDS items for the past many months, and urge him to look into the matter.

The people of Santhel have urged the concerned CAF & PD department to take up the needful action to ensure that the PDS items are distributed to each and every ration card holders regularly as per the directions of the government, and also appealed to issue ration cards to all families as per their economic status of being BPL or APL.

The villagers further said that they will file public interest litigation (PIL) at the High Court if the concerned authority fails to fulfill the demands of the people by November 20.

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