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Food grain shortage in Tripura, Mizoram
AGARTALA/AIZAWL, DEC 16 (IANS):
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Published on 16 Dec. 2010 11:51 PM IST
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Tripura and Mizoram are facing a food crisis as the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has not supplied the allocated quota of food grain to the two states, officials said Thursday.
'In view of the inadequate railway wagons and feeble tracks of NFR (Northeast Frontier Railways), the FCI is unable to supply food grain to Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and southern Assam,' Tripura Food and Civil Supplies Minister Manik Dey told reporters in Agartala. Quoting FCI and railway officials, Dey said: 'The FCI officials assured Tripura MPs that it would supply food grain by trucks and would build a buffer stock in the region.'
Parliamentarians from Tripura, led by Lok Sabha member Khagen Das, Wednesday met FCI chairman-cum-managing director (CMD) Syraj Hussain and top railway officials in New Delhi. Mizoram Chief Secretary Pu Van Hela Pachuau too held a meeting with Cabinet Secretary K.M.
Chandrasekhar, demanding urgent supply of food grain, according to officials. The central government has been supplying food grain, cooking gas, fertilisers and other essentials to the northeastern states.
'Inadequate railway service to the hilly region is the main bottleneck in maintaining uninterrupted supply of food grain and other essentials,' the Tripura food minister said.
The metre-gauge railway line from Guwahati passes through southern Assam's mountainous North Cachar Hills district, connecting landlocked Tripura's capital Agartala and parts of Manipur and Mizoram with the rest of the country.
He said Tripura had a buffer stock only for 23 days against the mandatory reserve of 60.
A senior Mizoram government official told reporters that six out of the state's eight districts are facing a severe shortage of food grain and other essentials. 'The repatriation process of tribal refugees from Tripura to Mizoram has also been suspended due to the shortages,' the official added.
'The Mizoram chief secretary, during his meeting with the cabinet secretary, has suggested six proposals, including building of adequate numbers of godowns, to overcome the recurring problem,' he said.
The chief secretary also said that work on the Bairabi-Sairang railway line in northern Mizoram was progressing slowly, thus making it difficult to finish the project by the original deadline of March 2014.
Meanwhile, a Tripura government official said that the union cabinet secretary held a high-level meeting in Guwahati earlier this month with the chief secretaries and food and civil supplies officials of the eight northeastern states on the issue.
Occasional road blockades by local organisations and disruption of railway services due to heavy rains during monsoon have also contributed to such shortages in Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and southern and western Assam.

 
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