IMPHAL, April 8: The Human Rights Initiative (HRI) has sent a request to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India on April 7 seeking his intervention on the way the Targeted Public Distribution System function in the state.
In a press conference at its office in Wangkhei Thangapat Mapal, HRI’s executive director Wahengbam Joykumar Singh alleged that the Targeted Public Distribution System has failed in the state as the guidelines of PDS control and an interim order of the Supreme Court, writ petion number 169 of 2001, have not been complied.
“MLAs and ministers of the Government of Manipur are directly or indirectly involved in plundering food grains of the people which ideally should be distributed through PDS.”
Pointing out that people in Manipur don’t get their quota of food grains in the prescribed rate though the records are fudged and maintained on paper, he said that HRI has conducted surveys on the“Status of Functioning of Public Distribution System in Manipur” at Imphal East, Chandel, Bishnupur, Churachandpur and Senapati and a booklet “The Food Drama” was released discussing in detail the reports collected during the surveys.
“The numbers of BPL families were fixed in 2002 and can be updated every year but this number should not be increased for the next ten years. However, various RTI petitions to the CAF and PD department have revealed that the total number of BPL card holders are 1, 02,400 while the department earlier pegged the number to 1, 66, 000 as on March 1, 2000.”
Continuing that the figure will be valid till 2013 and no further identification of families were carried out during the last 13 years, he alleged that the rice grains of 63, 600 BPL ration cards have been misappropriated every months during the last 13 years whereas citizens could not avail their rights to food grains during this period.
An investigation has also revealed that an equal quantity of wheat grains were also taken appropriated by the state government even though the state didn’t depend on wheat and those wheat grains have also been recorded as being distributed, he added.
Meanwhile, the quantity of rice distributed is less than the prescribed quota and the price is also higher than the rates fixed by the state government in the citizen charter published in this regard.
Wahengbam Joykumar Singh stated that most of the citizens could not possess their ration cards and about 75 percent of ration cards are in the custody of fair price shop agents.
The procedure for accessing a ration card as enumerated in the citizen charter is contradictory with the provisions of PDS Control Order 2001 and it is so difficult for any citizen to get ration card easily, he asserted.
He said that a written application was submitted to the Speaker of Manipur Legislative and other 53 members of Manipur Legislative Assembly along with copies of the“Food Drama” before the last assembly session on February 2014 but none of the MLA raised their voice.