NEW DELHI, October 1 (MIC): Welcoming the National Food Security Act 2013, Manipur Chief Minister O. Ibobi Singh described the Act as an opportunity to address the issues that the State had been facing for many years and said it would benefit the people of Manipur while ensuring effective Public Distribution System in Manipur.
In the letters addressed to the Prime minister of India Dr Manmohan Singh, chairperson of UPA and NAC Sonia Gandhi and the Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distrbution Prof K.V.Thomas on September 29 ahead to the Conference of Food Ministers of States held today, the Manipur Chief Minister said, “ The Act gives us a lot of challenges as it needs to be enforced vigorously to meet its objective failing which our accountability will increase many fold”.
Referring to the annual allocation for Manipur at 1.51 lakhs MT calculated by the Government of India on the average annual offtake of 1.30 lakhs MT during 2010-11 to 2012-13; The Chief Minister said, “ This is much lower than our requirement of 1.71 lakhs MT of foodgrains”. He stated that there were long blockades, bandhs and landslides that severely affected induction of foodgrains into Manipur by the Food Corporation of India during 2010 and the lower offtake in Manipur was not due to lesser need but external factors.
He demanded the Centre to increase the annual allocation of foodgrains for Manipur either rising of the annual allocation or through provision of additional and adhoc allocations for rice and wheat on monthly basis.
The Chief Minister mentioned that the Government of India had asked all States to report their preparedness to implement the National Security Act, 2013. He expressed, “ Manipur is very keen to implement it but not yet prepared due to many shortfalls in infrastructure, logistical requirements, lack of funds and manpower and many other problems which the other States may not face”.
He emphasized the need for an extensive support from the Central Government to meet the requirements like construction of FCI godowns at Imphal East, Bishnupur, Jiribam, Chandel, Thoubal and Tamenglong; completion of construction of godowns at Churachandpur and Senapati; construction of 60,000 MT capacity godowns at State Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Imphal for buffer stocking so as to keep bufferstocks for at least six months; construction of godowns at interior areas at Tousem and Tamei in Tamenglong District, at Parbung in Churachandpur District; construction of 2700 Fair Price Shop(FPS) buildings of one-room each at central location of all FPS centres; and procurement of transportation vehicles with GPS tracking system for PDS foodgrains including door step delivery.
The Manipur Chief Minister looked forward to a strong commitment from the Central Government in terms of enabling the Government of Manipur which had the poorest road and rail connectivity, far-off and remote location from the mainland, bad law and order situation with insurgency, difficult terrains, acute financial constraints of the State Government, lack of adequate infrastructure and trained manpower; so that the historic Act could be a game-changer for a food-deficit State like Manipur and a harbinger of food security through an effective mechanism for the people of Manipur. In an another letter addressed to the Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Prof K.V.Thomas, Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh expressed his happiness for agreeing to the State Government’s proposal for setting up a separate office of the General Manager of Food Corporation of India for Manipur. He invited the Union Minister to visit Manipur for inauguration of newly set up office of the General Manager of FCI at Imphal along with the completed FCI godown at Mayangkhang in Senapati District within October this year.