Free fund for free rice, demands Congress

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Aizawl, Feb 14 (UNI) The Mizoram Pradesh Youth Congress today embarked upon a statewide campaign to demand free distribution of rice to relieve the rural people from the prevailing Mautam (bamboo flowering) famine.

The Congress demanded that the Zoramthanga Government must distribute free rice from the Baffacos (Bamboo Flowering Famine and Famine Combat Scheme) fund.

'' We shall wait ten days for the MNF government to fulfill our demand. Even after ten days our demand is not met with, we shall go on pushing the MNF Government with other means, '' warned Congress Youth president Albert Lalthlamuana, while launching the campaign today.

The MPYCC had charged the MNF Government of doing ''nothing'' to combat the predictable Mautam famine despite the centrally-sponsored famine funds.

MPYCC vice-president C Lalhlimpuia said during the last Mautam famine in the late 1950s while Mizoram was under the Assam Government, people were distributed free rice despite poor road communication.

Even to those villages inaccessible by roads, rice was air-dropped. The same happened during the 1977 Thingtam famine, under the People's Conference Ministry, he said.

And came another Mautam, after the next 48 years, the state Government had been receiving famine relief funds from the centre along with the neighbouring famine-stricken states.

Mizoram had so far received a total amount of Rs 183.93 crores under the Baffacos.

But the MNF Government had failed to prevent the predictable famine, he alleged.

Chief Minister Zoramthanga had repeatedly assured that '' We are not going to allow any member of the citizen to suffer from the deprivation of famine. '' But where is that promise. We need actions, not mere words, the Congress Youth leader thundered.

Meanwhile, Congress MLA Zodintluanga has distributed free rice to as many as 16 villages under his Buarpui constituency in Lunglei distribution.

The MLA purchased 200 quintals of rice from his own pocket from Lunglei bazaar and distributed them to the 16 villages irrespective of party affiliations, a source close to the MLA said. He added that he spent about Rs 3,40,000 for the rice.

UNI ZS SJC/src1952

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