MPC sends SOS to Centre as MNF 'fails'

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Aizawl, Jan 9 (UNI) The Mizoram People's Conference party today sought the Centre's 'effective intervention' to combat impending Mautam (bamboo flowering) famine because the incumbent Mizo National Front has 'failed' to do so.

''While the rest of India and the world look forward to the New Year with glittering hope, the people of Mizoram are sitting in a state of gloom after they had produced last year less than ten per cent of their annual production of rice as a result of the phenomenal bamboo flowering (Mautam) which disproportionately increased rodent population,'' a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said.

''Many families in Mizoram can now hardly afford to have one square meal a day,'' the MPC said in its memorandum. Since Mautam famine, which occurs at an interval of every 48 years, is a predictable disaster, the central government in collaboration with the state government could circumvent it, the memorandum added.

''But, the present administrative tendency of the state government and the manner of their operation to combat the crisis belies all hopes and trust of the people of Mizoram,'' it rued.

The MPC also recollected that in 1979 the central government, in collaboration with the then Brig T Sailo-led People's Conference (now MPC) ministry could effectively combat similar famine brought about by Thingtam (which occurred at the interval of every 25 years, but less in magnitude than Mautam), owing to the state government's judicious use of the centrally-sponsored food-for-work programme, called Employment Generation Scheme(EGS).

The T Sailo-led MPC alleged that the whopping Rs 90 crore sanctioned by the Centre to combat the famine under the scheme christened by the state government as Bamboo Flowering and Famine Combat Scheme (Baffacos), instead of alleviating the affected people, went to the sole benefit of one particular political party workers.

The aggrieved farmers have formed themselves into Zoram Kuthnathawktu Pawl to protest the pilferage and diversion of the Baffacos fund.

''The poor cultivators are now virtually on the verge of revolt,'' the memorandum stated.

Among others, the MPC suggested making more fund available from the Central government to meet the present crisis and appointing a reliable philanthropic organisation to execute such a gigantic task for effective fight against the impending famine.

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