Pothashang News Service: Imphal, April 16, 2020: Congress MLA, Khumukcham Joykishan has urged Chief Minister N. Biren Singh to provide a clear picture of the works to be taken up by Chief Secretary J Suresh Babu in connection with distribution of essential items to the public during the lockdown.
If their is no transparency at this crucial phase opposition party will not stay as silent spectator, Joykishan cautioned. He alleged Chief Secretary J Suresh Babu is not competent enough to take the charge on distributing rice and pulses to the public during lockdown. “He (Chief Secretary) might be good in paper works but he is not practically good in delivering goods to public”, said Joykishan.
It would be wrong if Chief Minister trust Chief Secretary more than people’s representatives to monitor grievances of public, Joykishan said in a press conference, here, on Thursday. He said he welcomes the extension of lockdown to prevent spread of COVID-19. All MLAs, various local, civil bodies and individuals have been extending help to the needy, he added.
Joykishan said an order issued by Chief Secretary Babu on April 2 mentioned that essentially commodities especially rice and pulses under the public distribution system (PDS) should reach all eligible families in the state without fail. Since the issue of order no rice and pulses are distributed other than which is distributed for the National Food Security Act (NFSA) card holders, he added.
It is also mentioned that central government has approved additional entitlement (over and above normal monthly allocation) of PDS items for the month of April, May and June under ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana’. The order mentioned that 5 kg of rice (maximum of 25 kg per family) and 1 kg of pulses per member of eligible family will be distributed under the said scheme on free of cost. But no essential commodities item are distributed under the said order, Joykishan said.
Failure on distribution of PDS item till date shows that Chief Secretary is not competent. To bring transparency on and efficient distribution of PDS items government can establish a coordination committee by selecting some representatives from the ruling and opposition parties, he added.
The government order also mentioned that no middle man will be made involve while delivering PDS items. He questioned that who the ‘middle man’ is. If the middle man is considered as the respective MLAs, Chief Secretary does not have knowledge on the power entitled to the MLAs being people representative s. MLAs has right to know and get involved for the welfare of people, Joykishan said.
Many migrants in the state have been suffering due to lockdown. He said government should announce that under any circumstances Chief Minister and Chief Secretary will take the responsibility for the people staying at rent. But the order issued by Chief Secretary do not mention for the people staying in rent from different districts other than the migrant workers, he added.
For the opening of shops during relaxation the matter need to be discussed with concern MLAs and local clubs to fulfill their needs despite of announcing the shopping point by concern DC. Various organizations including student, local bodies and other civil bodies have been asking that MLAs should not misuse allocated amount of rice and other items issued for each assembly constituency and misused on such items will not tolerate. However, no one asks for transparency on distribution of PDS items issued by Chief Secretary, he added.
He said the state government declared that Rs 25 lakh can be utilised from the MLA local area development fund during the lockdown but no money has been released for Imphal West district. He said MLAs have been spending money from their own expenses to meet the essential need in their respective assembly constituencies.