Lamka, Jul 1: Call it true or not, the old saying is that when there are incidences of abnormal death of large number of cattles or humans due to many unknown diseases, sickness and also irregular flow of monsoon rainfall, side by side with an increase in rodent population, it is a sure sign of famine.
According to a farmer from Sinzawl village in Thanlon sub-division, the locust population has increased tremendously since the last few months. They perch on the standing crops in their thousands and hop from one crop to the other causing destruction of the crops in the process.
The young crops which are the farmers’ mainstay for the future are destroyed relentlessly as they simply watch and can’t do anything, he said.
In the sub-division the entire population from the villages subsist on Jhum cultivation and the phenomenal rise of the insect population means a famine is underway and this has been the experience of people during the past many years.
According to findings villages like Palkhuang, Mualnuam, Lungthul, Sinzawl, Thuangtam, Tuima and many other villages of Thanlon sub-division and some parts of Singngat are in dire straits as they are facing the problem with no measures taken by the government to eliminate the locust population and some other insects that are on the rise.
In addition the relief requirement due to crop failure last year in terms of rice has been estimated to be about Rs. 19 crores including 8000 quintals of rice per month.
An enquiry conducted by this correspondent confirmed that no relief assistance has been extended to the people of these areas except for the 4500 quintals of rice distributed in the early part of June 2008.
Even as the rainy season is setting in and hard times are looming ahead, not a single grain of rice has been stocked in the interior parts while the DC of Churachandpur, Sumant keeps reminding the concerned authorities of the total amount of rice requirement.
Considering the magnitude of the calamity the existing PDS system and its convergence with the NREGS is found to be starkly inadequate.
Further, the Sangaiprou development in which the PDS items could not be lifted by the MLAs’ nominees due to interference from non state actors made the plight of the people in the interiors pitiable.
The nominees tried their best to ensure a transparent, free and fair distribution of the rice and other items when they could lift it. According to the nominees they have deposited money even for the month of July considering the problems faced by the people, but the transport contractors are not able to lift it.
An organisation called the Zomi Economic Development and Planning Agency has also sent SOS messages to the state chief minister for his intervention in the interest of the people. It urged him to conduct free distribution of rice, release all famine related funds soon, provide additional relief and provide round the clock health checking with adequate medical supplies.