At the other end, concerned civil societies from abroad and para-churches organisations have been extending relief assistance but they are only like a drop of water in a huge ocean.
Assistance has been provided by Zomi AID and some others by way of rice which has been highly welcomed by the affected people and civil societies functioning here, yet they are inadequate for the hungry masses.
In spite of this, the only means to tide over the situation as presumed by traditional village folks is laying traps by which means at least some number of the rats could be caught in an effort to minimise their numbers, said a villager from Lungthul (E) Kampi during his recent interaction with the press.
He showed an estimated number of more than 2000 rat tails caught in a trap while maintaining that the numbers are too overwhelming and beyond their capacity to control.
He came all way from the village to procure a poison for killing rats but could not find enough of it.
He further said that last year the rodents destroyed crops but not the paddy, and this year they destroyed the paddy crops giving a death blow to the farmers hope for harvest in so many villages of Singngat and Thanlon sub-divisions.
So many households in the two divisions were affected as all the standing crops have been ravaged, he said to this corerespondent.
Meanwhile, ZEPADA in a press statement reiterated their demand to the government for a solution to the plight of the villagers.
It said crores of rupees had been sanctioned by the Union government to check rodent menace and for relief of the poor and victims of the catastrophe, but the situation remained unchanged with each passing day.
It urged for immediate distribution of free rice, provision for relief from the chief minister’s relief fund, food security throughout the year and buying of the rodent tails at the rate of Rs. 5 per tail along with release of all the funds sanctioned by the Central government.
In case of the last demand, it has been learnt that the Centre has sanctioned Rs. 19 crores. However, the department does not want to comply with it.
Over and above this, the forest department claimed to have distributed 1900 rat traps during 2006-08 with rodenticides of 10,450.
But the IFP investigation has revealed nothing has been done in that direction by the department and they rely on traditional traps to help themselves.
Moreover, the forest department’s claim of buying rat tails has never been done.
This being the case a Mautam-Famine AID, 2008 concert is being organised under the theme “Concert for Hungry” on September 5 to raise funds for the famine affected people.
Source: Imphal Free Press