IMPHAL, Jun 2 : Manipuri Students’ Federation (MSF) volunteers confiscated around four truck loads of PDS rice which instead of being distributed to the public, were being stored at a makeshift godown made out of some unoccupied class rooms of St Marks Higher Secondary School at Sangaiprou yesterday.
Speaking to media persons, MSF vice president Oinam Premsagar pointed out that MSF launched the special drive after getting reliable information about storage of rice at the school.
He said that during the drive, MSF volunteers broke the locks of three large rooms and discovered them to be full of rice. In another room, they also found several green plastic bags with lotus symbols and Laxmi Bhog written on it which were full of rice. They also found piles of the green plastic bags which were unused and which hinted towards the possibility of the PDS rice being sold off at high prices in the market.
Initially, the MSF volunteers did not break open the locks, although they had sufficient evidence regarding the contents of the rooms, and tried to question some people (who claimed to be tenants) about the owner, he added.
He stated that some individuals claiming to be owners of the rice and a woman, supposedly the owner of the school, arrived after the MSF volunteers broke the locks and discovered the rice.
One individual brought out some documents containing an Office memorandum by DSO Imphal West, N Jatra Singh which claimed that the rice were given to two transport contractors, M/S Soraisam Enterprises and M/S Elangbam Enterprises, on April 21 to be distributed to the fair price shop agents of Imphal West.
The documents further claimed that the rice were meant for the people of Sangaiprou Mamang Leikai and Ghari Awang Leikai and would be provided by the fair price shop agents through home delivery, he added.
Premsagar said that one individual also arrived and claimed that the rice are for the people of Naoriya Pakhanglakpa A/C and were just being stored temporarily.
Expressing concern regarding the possibility of PDS rice being sold off in the market at exorbitant prices, he questioned the real motive behind storing the huge quantities of PDS rice sanctioned on April 21 at a private school.
He also demanded the State Government to look into the matter at the earliest and stated that storing PDS rice meant for the people without distributing it for more than 40 days seriously raises the question if there are foul play involved in the process.
On the other hand, Imphal West Transport Contractors have demanded MSF to clarify within 24 hours.
Speaking to media persons at Manipur Press Club today, Elangbam Amit Kumar Singh said that the claims made by MSF on various social network sites and news media in connection with the drive carried out by the organisation at a godown owned by one Meisnam Bimola at Sangaiprou Mamang Leikai yesterday, are false and baseless.
He clarified that the rice stored at the godown were for distribution to the people of Imphal West under M/S Soraisam Enterprises and M/S Elangbam Enterprises adding that the claims made by MSF regarding the use of the godown for selling off the rice in the black market is totally false and baseless.
He explained that the contractors dumped the rice at the godown owned by Bimola after the DSO Imphal West issued a dumping order to store the rice at her godown as the CAF and PD godown had run out of space.
Expressing disappointment at the claims made by MSF regarding the authenticity of the documents, Amit said the CAF and PD Director had also assured the authenticity of the order and clarified regarding the storage of the rice at the godown.
He claimed that it is sad to see a student organisation resorting to goondaism and urged MSF not to repeat such acts in the future. Amit said that claim made by MSF regarding the amount of rice at the godown is false and clarified that the godown contained not 2506 but 2700 quintals of rice and further stated that MSF should bear the expenses if some quantities of rice are missing from the godown.
He further demanded the MSF to clarify within 24 hours through news and social media.
Source: The Sangai Express