By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Sep 11: Export of rice produced in the State should be banned to cope with looming famine, said Nupi Samaj president Th Ramani Leima on Wednesday. Government should curb price hike and make sure that people get rice at affordable price, she said.
Speaking to media persons at the office of All Manipur Women's Social Reformation and Development Samaj (Nupi Samaj) at Lamphelpat, Ramani said that famine is imminent in the State as scanty monsoon rains have failed most of the paddy fields this season.
To avoid major famine related disasters, Government should take up all necessary actions apart from compensation to drought affected farmers to cope with the approaching calamity. State must ensure affordable price of rice and other daily essential commodities and strict ban should be imposed on export of rice produced in the State, she said seeking the attention of the Government.
Nupi Samaj has also submitted memorandum to Chief Minister and Ministers concerned today regarding the matter, she said.
The steep price of local rice - Rs 50 per kg and the increased in the price of imported Super Fine rice - Rs 30-35 per kg are a blow to poor people of the State particularly daily wage earners, said Nupi Samaj, in its memorandum signed by general secretary P Sobita and president Th Ramani, hinting that such sky high price of rice which is a staple food will batter people hard when famine hits.
Price hike should be tackled and Government should make available rice at low/subsidised rate besides distributions under scheme such as Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY). Imported rice should also be made available at subsidised rate at shops specially open for the purpose in the villages, Leikais under the control of the Government to meet the demands. Unless production could not meet the demand of the State, export of rice should be banned, said Nupi Samaj.
Nupi Samaj in its memorandum identified scanty monsoon rains, lack of proper irrigation facilities, canals and Government's failure to intervene timely for supply of water as reasons for thousands of hectares of paddy field left barren this season.
Speculating that there may be chaos, crime, social disorder, theft and other unwanted situations if famine hits the State, Nupi Samaj advised Government to take up immediate steps to avert such situations in future.
Besides projects to make irrigation water available year-round, Government should initiate long term plans in time to mitigate impact of global climate change, frequent flood, scarcity of rains and consequent health issues, it said.
Government should provide high yielding variety (HYV) seeds, water pumps sets, tractors and other agriculture related equipment and materials either free or at subsidised rate/rental at low price for increased production. State should also prohibit hoarding large amount of food-grain beyond the permitted limit in godowns and cease brewing of wine from rice by 'all possible means', said Nupi Samaj in the memorandum. It also appealed the Government to award compensation to drought affected farmers in a transparent and fair manner free from nepotism and corruption.