With the authorities concerned misearably failing to implement coverage of transportation costs of food grains under National Food Security Act (NFSA) scheme, rationing agents in Kamjong district are finding themselves in a tight spot.
To exert pressure on the government for immediate release of the transportation costs under the scheme, the Fair Price Shop Agents’ Association (FPSAA-NFSA) of 43-Phungyar AC on Saturday took out a protest march in front of Ukhrul FCI Go-down here at Meizailung.
Scores of FPS agents drawn from 52 FPS centres across 43-Phungyar AC in Kamjong district, participated in the protest demonstration that started at around 11 am amid inclement weather.
They held placards reading “Transport Contractor, Give Us Our Transportation Money,” “Hon’ble Minister CAF&PD, Where Is Your Transport Contractor,” “Enough Is Enough, Stop Discrimination,” “Hon’ble CM, Where Is Good Governance,” “No Transportation Charges Paid Since 2017,” and others, that denounced non-release of the costs of transportation of food grains to the agents.
Briefing media persons on the side-lines of the protest, FPSAA-NFSA convenor Ngamreiso Jajo said that they were disenchanted with the way the authorities concerned have overlooked the plights of the FPS agents who have been distributing ration to villagers without getting the requisite transportation costs since October in 2017.
“We are rendering services by incurring huge transport expenses each month since the transport contractor has failed to release the costs and margin money till today,” he rued, while adding that the allocated monthly amount towards meeting the transportation costs for all the 52 centres is around Rs. 5 lakhs.
Calculating on the backlog amount since 2017, he said that the agents are being deprived of the allocation to the tune of almost rupees one crore now.
He said that all the agents have loaded up their trucks with ration but would not move the food grain to their destinations until they are provided with the transportation cost and margin money by the transport contractor.
The association would be constrained to take up stringent forms of agitation if the government failed to fulfill their demands for immediate release of the transportation costs and margin money, he warned.
According to Jajo, the association had repeatedly apprised the authorities concerned about the matter. “We followed every possible procedure to ensure implementation of transportation costs and margin money but to no avail,” he said.
“We have written a number of petitions to our local MLA and even personally met CAF&PD minister on the matter. On their advice, we had also approached the director concerned and transport contractor Amit Kumar,” he said.
Transport contractor Amit Kumar had denied any knowledge about the whereabouts of the funds meant for transportation of food grains, citing non-disbursement of the money by the government, Jajo related.
It is learnt that apart from Phungyar AC, Amit Kumar is also the transport contractor for 44-Ukhrul and 45-Chingai ACs in Ukhrul district. FPS agents in these two ACs are also being deprived of the same provisions under the food safety scheme