More than one hundred residents of Upper Hungpung on Wednesday took part in a protest demonstration held here at Dungrei tri-junction, in support of the Joint Action Committee (JAC)’s charter of demands for rectification of alleged irregularities in the implementation of PMGKAY scheme.
At around 12:30 pm, the protestors marched through the tri-junction traffic circular holding banners and placards inscribed with words denouncing the alleged irregularities in the distribution of food grains under PMGKAY.
The protestors refused to budge in the middle of the road, disrupting traffic movement for some time as they shouted slogans demanding the authorities set right the anomalous practice of food grain distribution under PMGKAY at the earliest.
Joint Action Committee (JAC), Convenor, TS Elvis said that the JAC was formed by the aggrieved beneficiaries of PMGKAY from Upper Hungpung localities to seek redressal for their grievances which is being overlooked by the authorities concerned.
“It was constituted under the banner of ‘Right to Food’ to rightfully demand accountability and transparency in the distribution of PMGKAY ration and has the mandate of the beneficiaries and concerned citizens of Hungpung residents,” he said.
Elvis said that the protest became necessary after the district administration failed to fulfill the charter of demands submitted by the JAC on September 1.
“We had set a seven day deadline for the district administration and the same ended on September 8, but the authorities could not respond or address the issue positively,” he continued.
According to the JAC Convenor, the charter of demands pertained to rectification in the distribution system to ensure that every beneficiary receives 5 kgs of rice and every household gets 1 kg of whole gram each month (as per directive of the scheme).
“We demand that all the missing benefits i.e. 2.750 kgs of rice per beneficiary for the last five (5) distribution be compensated by the respective agent or authorities concerned and that 1 kg of gram/pulse is distributed to beneficiary households without delay,” he continued.
The JAC also demanded immediate refund of Rs. 20 which was collected as transportation charge from each household of Vashimtang locality, Elvis said. Responding to the petition submitted by the JAC, the district administration had on September 5, directed Hungpung headman and all rationing agents operating in 12 localities of the village to distribute PMGKAY ration to only ration card holders.
The district administration report stated that PMGKAY rice is meant to be distributed through PDS to all the Ration Card holders (PHH and MY) by providing 5 kg of rice to the targeted allotted beneficiaries only.
The directive of Ukhrul DC for distribution of PMGKAY rice with local adjustments and convenience, saying it should immediately stop, has apparently irked the JAC.
“Our demand is to ensure fair distribution of full measure of 5 kg rice per person and 1 kg dal per household as stipulated under PMGKAY scheme. We never demanded the benefits only for ration card holders. But DC’s directive to discontinue free rice distribution to those beneficiaries without ration cards is against the Centre’s directives for distribution of free ration to all poor individuals and households under the scheme,” he contended.
The aggrieved beneficiaries from Upper Hungpung had earlier held a similar protest over the issue on August 27 last.