Church steps in to combat famine in Mizoram

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Aizawl, Jan 4 (UNI) The Mizoram Presbyterian Church has stepped in to help people in the state avoid an impending famine after the acute rice shortage due to Mautam season.

Synod social front, an organ of the church, has earmarked Rs 722,691,840 for the 'famine relief for the state of Mizoram' project. The project cost has been set based on State agriculture department statistics as on October 31, 2007, according to which 13,839.01 hectares of croplands amounting to Rs 2,71,244,596 were destroyed by rats, Mizoram Synod social front executive secretary Rev Zosangliana Colney told UNI here today.

With the Zoramthanga government's alleged failure to combat the Mautam famine, the church's intervention plays an important role in the present situation.

''If our actions has no bearing on the role of the government. It is our collective responsibility to help the needy, irrespective of class and caste,'' Rev Colney said, adding that Chief Minister Zoramthanga has heartily thanked the social front for its initiatives.

He stated that of the total project cost, Rs 672,480,000 would be used for sustenance fund and the remaining Rs 50,211,840 would be allocated as start-up fund for buying food grains for the next season. Elaborating on the sustenance fund, Rev Colney said it is meant for the sustenance of the 29,888 families affected by famine (based on agriculture department records) residing in 431 villages.

As immediate relief, the social front has distributed 512 quintals of rice to different villages just before Christmas, so that no one starves during Christmas, said Rev Colney.

UNI ZS LL DS KN1726

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