Mizoram govt urges Centre to help avoid food crisis

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Aizawl, Nov 5 (UNI) The Mizoram government has urged the Centre to help avoid the Mautam (bamboo flowering)-related famine that will hit the state by next year.

Official sources said here today that the state government appealed to Vice-President M Hamid Ansari, who was here on an official visit, for necessary relief from the Centre.

It was pointed out that the state would require an additional monthly rice allotment of at least 5,740 tonnes as the state's rice produce had fallen drastically, following the rodent and pest menace created by the bamboo flowering.

Estimating that Rs 23.85 crore would be required for rice procurement till March, the state Council of Ministers submitted a memorandum to the Centre, appealing to meet the additional costs.

''If the Centre recovers the additional expenditures of states ravaged by insurgency under security-related expenditure, Mizoram also should be entitled to get such funds for being a peaceful state and receive additional funds for the Mautam calamity,'' the memorandum stated.

The memorandum also highlighted the Zoramthanga Ministry's initiatives in the introduction of cash crops to replace the jhum cultivation on which almost 80 per cent of the state's population still depended.

The Vice-President was informed that these cash crops had started to bear positive fruits.

It was also pointed out that Mizoram had high potential in hydel power, and if tapped, it could boost the state's industrial development.

Mr Ansari was delighted to learn that various NGOs had played an important role in the state attaining the top position in literacy.

He was informed that these NGOs also played a crucial role in imparting information to the masses with much less funds, as compared to other states' NGOs.

The state Cabinet also urged Mr Ansari, being a former diplomat, to take steps so that the Northeastern states reaped the maximum benefits from the Look East Policy.

UNI

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