students ask Manipur government to rein in rationing agents

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Imphal, May 18 (IANS) Tribal students on Wednesday threatened to start an agitation if state government failed to stop rationing agents from exploiting the poor tribals in the interior hill areas of Manipur.

Joseph Newmai, president of Tousem Headquarters Students’ Union said: “Rice is sold at Rs.10 a kg instead of Rs.3. On inquiry, the rationing agent said that the Rationing Agents’ Association in the state decided to sell it at Rs.10. The government should explain whether the agents are above the government. We will agitate in public interest if government remains unconcerned.”

The National Food Security Act, 2013 was implemented in Manipur from April 25, 2016.

The government claims that the Tousem sub-division in Tamenglong district is the first and only area in Manipur where rice is sold under the NFSA 2013.

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Newmai also disclosed that kerosene in this isolated tribal area is sold at Rs.25 per litre once in a while.

People are not aware of the government policy. However, most of the ruling Congress MLAs allegedly distributed the ration cards to their supporters.

Though Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh had made a passing reference to it, cards are yet to be distributed through the local bodies and rice made available.

BJP has been pointing out that apart from the political interference rice cannot be distributed simply because there is no fair price shop that functions in Manipur.

The BJP leaders said that rice is sold at Rs.34 or more per kg in the market. FCI rice meant for distribution in the fair price shops finds its way to the market and is sold at Rs.24 per kg.

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