Ukhrul: Disregarding the government’s order for distribution of free 5 kg of rice per person and 1 kg of gram per household every month under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), agents in different localities of Upper Hungpung in Manipur’s Ukhrul district are allegedly distributing lesser quantities of such benefits to the residents.
Moreover, the beneficiaries have claimed that the agents have never provided them with even a seed of gram under the scheme till date.
The residents contended that there was a gross disparity in the distribution of ration within the village. They said that while residents of Lower Hungpung were receiving 5 koktas of rice (measured in Rasgula can), those in Upper Hungpung were given only 3 koktas, which is far below the allocated quantity.
To give vent to their angst, scores of residents of Dungrei, Vashimtang and Awungtang/Kasomtang in Upper Hungpung descended on the streets at Dungrei tri-junction and held a peaceful demonstration on Tuesday. The protesters held placards inscribed with words decrying anomalies in the ration distribution.
Briefing media persons at the sidelines of the peaceful protest demonstration, aggrieved beneficiaries pointed out that despite the government’s directive for distribution of free 5 kg of rice per person under PMGKAY to provide means of sustenance for the poor in the view of Covid-19 lockdown situation, local agents in the village have failed to distribute the beneficiaries the full measure of the entitled quantity of rice.
“Instead of 5 kg, we are getting only 3 koktas of rice person which is only about 2.25 kg. If it is measured in Rasgula can, then 7 koktas would make 5 kg,” one of the protesters said.
“Today, we are holding this peaceful protest to appeal to the authorities concerned to look into the matter and redress the genuine grievances of the aggrieved beneficiaries at the earliest,” they pleaded.
The protesters said that they were not trying to accuse anyone, but to find out the truth and rectify the irregularities in the ratio distribution.
As per clarification from Dungrei Public Organisation (DPO), a total of 260 bags are allocated for 10 localities of Dungrei as monthly entitlement, they said, adding that, nevertheless, utilisation certificate suggested that the actual quantity was 273 bags.
“So it appears that 13 bags are missing each month and by calculating the quantity since April, a total of 52 bags have not been distributed to the public,” they rued.
They continued that none of the agents have been able to give any clarifications regarding the rest of the localities. “They have even failed to produce utilisation certificates and beneficiaries statistics despite repeated requests,” they said.
Seeking clarification from the authorities concerned, the residents further disclosed that Vashimtang received only 8 quintals as against the allocated quantity of 14.5 quintals. They also said that the agents are collecting Rs 20 from each of the households in Upper Hungpung as transportation costs of the ration, which is not done in Lower Hungpung.
The residents also said that they have never received gram (dal) 1 kg of which is entitled to each household monthly under PMGKAY. “When we contacted the authorities concerned on the matter, they told us that dal has not been distributed owing to poor quality,” they said quoting official sources.
In a violation of the SOP, the agents are also distributing the ration for the residents of 12 localities at only two centres, instead of doing the same at their respective localities. “With all the beneficiaries from these localities crowding at these two centres, maintenance of social distance has become a difficult proposition,” they pointed out.
According to the protesters, the residents of Upper Hungpung had been waiting for rectification of the anomalies since the first distribution of ration in April. “But this has not happened till today. When we approached the village authority for clarification on the irregular practice recently, they were unaware of the same and advised us to sort out with the respective agents and committees of the localities. But sadly, the agents and local committees have failed to clarify things,” they said.