Aizawl, Jun 2: As many people have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are finding it difficult to purchase food items, Mizoram Sports minister Robert Romawia Royte and former minister C Vulluaia are bearing the ration expenses of the poor people of their area.
Royte, who was elected from Aizawl East-II constituency in the 2018 assembly polls, has announced that he will bear the ration expenses of over 11,000 people poor of his constituency for eight months through his own savings and not from government funds.
There are 11,087 beneficiaries from several families, who hold Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) or 'poorest of poor' and Priority Household (PHH) or Below Poverty Line ration cards in seven localities within Aizawl East-II constituency for availing subsidized food grains from public distribution system under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
The minister said that he would bear the ration expenses of 11,087 AAY and PHH beneficiaries irrespective of party affiliation.
Royte said he would meet the expenses for eight months from May to December through his monthly salary saved for helping the needy and not from MLA area development fund.
The minister has already borne the ration expenses of the 11,087 people for the month of May.
Aizawl East-II is the worst COVID-19 affected constituency in Mizoram. Royte, who is also the owner of Aizawl Football Club, the first football club from Northeast to win I-League in 2016-2017, said that he has been saving his monthly salary for the poor since he was elected to the state assembly in 2018.
"The ration expenses would solely be met from monthly salary. I have been saving my MLA salary, which I kept it aside for helping the poor since the beginning. MLA funds are meant for other developments," the 55-year-old leader told PTI.
Royte said that he would spend around Rs 15 lakh for the purchase of 4,89,120 kg of rice for eight months.
He would continue with the good cause if necessary. Apart from sports, Royte also holds Information and Communication Technology, and Tourism portfolio in the Mizo National Front (MNF) government.
Meanwhile, former law minister and prominent journalist C Vulluaia also assisted over 500 poor families within his locality- Dawrpui Vengthar in Aizawl by bearing their ration expenses for May.
The food crisis triggered by coronavirus induced lockdown and the hesitancy of the the poor residents to reveal their hardship have moved the leader for the noble act, family sources said.
Vulluaia, 85, was elected to the state assembly in 1978, 1979 and 1993.