SHILLONG, April 2 - Due to shortage of rice in Meghalaya following panic buying by the people of the State during the last few days, the Government has decided to procure over 1,17,278 quintals of rice from the Food Corporation of India (FCI) for sale in the open market.
Meghalaya Minister of Food and Civil Supplies James Sangma today said that the Chief Minister has sanctioned Rs 26.38 crore for purchase of rice from the FCI. The rice will be made available to deputy commissioners across the State for distribution.
�The DCs will make this rice available in the open market (under the open market sales schemes.) We are coordinating with the FCI on the location from where the Government of Meghalaya can lift the foodgrains,� Sangma said.
The minister said that there has been a disruption in the food supply chain in the open market as well in the public distribution system (PDS). Sangma said that he has been personally monitoring the situation by holding meetings with DCs of the State through video conferencing.
The minister further announced that beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act would soon get 5 kg of rice and one kg of pulses for free from April to June.
The State Government has also taken up with the NAFED under the Ministry of Consumers Affairs and Public Distribution, the issue of allocation of 5553.64 quintals of pulses (masur dal) for free distribution. The scheme of free distribution of rice and pulses for the next three months is under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana. The free distribution is in addition to the beneficiaries� monthly allotment of rice and pulses.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Ujwala Yojana, each beneficiary will get free gas cylinders for the next three months, Sangma added.
�The targeted PDS has been streamlined with advance lifting of the April stocks. The advance stocks for May and June are also being lifted so that beneficiaries under the PDS do not face any problems,� Sangma said.
The minister warned that strict action would be taken against those found hoarding essential commodities. �We will take stern action against hoarders under the Essential Commodities Act,� Sangma said. He appealed to the public to cooperate with the Government and inform the administration about their grievances on the toll-free number, 1967, relating to supply of essential commodities.