House debates on bamboo flowering and famine

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Aizawl, Mar 13 (UNI) The Mizoram Assembly today entered into a heated debate over the controversial Baffacos (Bamboo Flowering and Famine Combat Scheme) with Opposition accusing the government of its failure to rpt to spend funds judiciously.

To a question of Congress member H Rohluna, Chief Minister Zoramthanga claimed that his government had been able to combat Mautam, famine caused by excessive bamboo flowering.

Mr Zoramthanga, who also holds the Finance portfolio, said that the funds under Baffacos were properly utilised. Had it not been so then the impact would have been more disastrous, he added.

Ruling MNF member Lalchhandama Ralte, who came to the rescue of the Chief Minister, told the Opposition that Mizoram was the only state in entire Northeast to have such scheme.

''This proves the efficiency of our Chief Minister,'' he added.

He also calrified that the farmers have continuously been getting waged employment under the Baffacos.

To this Congress legislator R Lalzirliana said that the agriculture director had been chargesheeted for misutilisation of funds under the scheme but no action had been taken against him.

Mizoram People's Conference group leader Lalhmingthanga also jumped into the debate asking the government to provide details of the allocations made for Baffacos in since 2004-05.

To this Mr Zoramthanga informed that more than Rs 125 crore have been alloted so far and also assured a list of names of beneficiaries to the House.

The government also claimed that Rs 10,000 lakh was distributed to the farmers in all the eight districts during 2007-08.

However, the Opposition alleged that most of the district were badly affected due to Mautam and people had no food to eat.

To a query that why urban residents were among the beneficiaries of Baffacos, Mr Zoramthanga explained that there is a number of farming families in urban, who have jhums in rural areas.

UNI ZS PP DB1732

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