Imphal: A one-day legal awareness meeting on Right to Food was held at Ibudhou Pureilomba Complex, Lamlai in Imphal. The meeting, jointly organized by Human Rights Alert (HRA) and COVID 19 Task Force, Lamlai (CTFL), was attended by about a hundred participants.
Thokchom Saimond Singh, Judicial Member, Manipur Food Commission graced the function as the chief guest, withThokchom Nabakumar, Chairman, CTFL and Babloo Loitongbam, Executive Director, HRA in the presidium.
According to a press release issued by Human Rights Alert, E. Dayananda, Co-convenor of CTFL, in his welcome address highlighting the difficulties faced by the folks in accessing their entitlements of food grains under the National Food Security Act, 2013. Advocate Okram Kiranjit, as a resource person, pointed out the entitlements of the persons having Priority House Hold (PHH) card and AAY card. He also explained how to redress their grievances through the District Redressal Officers and the Manipur Food Commission. Advocate N. Subhaschandra, also speaking as a resource person, pointed out the 17 directives passed by the High Court of Manipur in the recent PIL filed by HRA. Advocate Ch. Korouhanba analysed the allocation of food grains of Manipur and specifically the entitlements for Lamlai.
Thokchom Saimond Singh of the Food Commission, emphasised the criticality of right to food during the on-going lockdown/pandemic and urged the Task Force to have a specialised Sub-Committee on Food to systematically “purse their rights and entitlement”. He also encouraged the folks to make use of the Legal Aids Clinic, only to find out that there is not a single clinic in the whole of Lamlai Municipal Council area. He therefore called up on the folk to approach the concerned authority to open a Legal Aids Clinic at the earliest.
Delivering his presidential speech, Babloo Loitongbam exalted the people of Lamlai for the historic role they played in the various struggles in Manipur and for remaining organised and vigilant of their rights. He encouraged them to use the available redress mechanisms and handed over copies of the Manipuri translation of the recent High Court judgment on right to food as well as various forms to lodge complaints under the Manipur Food Security Rules.
A brisk question and answer session went on for more than an hour as the folks wanted to know how to seek redress of their grievances and the HRA lawyers’ team tried to craft various possibilities of legal, social and political actions, the press release added.
The meeting concluded with Thokchom Nabakumar, Chairman, CTFL, announcing the formation of the Right to Food Sub-Committee of CTFL to “systematically purse the cases discussed and more”.