Mizoram chief minister Lalthanhawla and Congress president Sonia Gandhi at the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the sainik school at Chhingchhip near Aizawl on Friday. Picture by UB Photos
Aizawl/Silchar, Sept. 20: Congress president Sonia Gandhi launched UPA’s much-touted food security scheme in Mizoram today along with the party’s campaign for the November-December Assembly elections.
The term of the current Mizoram Assembly ends on December 15.
Sonia, who flew down to the meeting site — 3rd Battalion Mizoram Armed Police ground at Mualpui on the southern fringes of Aizawl — by chopper from Lengpui airport, inaugurated the subsidised food distribution programme under the Food Security Act, and hoped nobody in Mizoram would go hungry in future.
She said the scheme would ensure food at extremely low prices for malnourished and hungry people in the country.
Speaking for 15 minutes to the sizeable audience, Sonia also unveiled the state Congress committee’s poll campaign for the November-December Assembly election and hoped that her party, which had romped home in the 2008 state polls bagging 32 of the 40 seats, would be able to repeat the feat.
She said the food security scheme approved by Parliament this month would ensure general well-being of Mizoram’s poor, who would also benefit from the nutritional value of the food items supplied to them from today at subsidised rates.
Mizoram chief minister Lalthanhawla attended the meeting along with his cabinet colleagues and state Congress leaders.
Sonia certified the Lalthanhawla-led government as a “good” one, leading a “transparent, responsive and progressive administration in the last five years”, while asking the people to support the Congress again in the coming polls.
She said Mizoram had always been among her favourite destinations and added that she would visit again in future. According to the state Congress sources, this is her seventh visit to the hill state.
Mizoram PCC leaders presented her with a hand-stitched Mizo puan (skirt).
This was Sonia’s first visit to the Northeast after the food security scheme was passed by Parliament this month but it was not the only issue she touched upon in her speech, nor the only scheme she launched during the visit.
She also inaugurated the fourth phase of Mizoram government’s flagship rural poverty alleviation programme, New Land Use Policy (NLUP) — a Rs 2462-crore central scheme aimed at replacing the wasteful jhum cultivation on hill slopes with the modern and permanent forms of agriculture.
The Congress president also symbolically laid the foundation of the state’s first sainik school, to be set up at the chief minister’s constituency, Sherchip, about 100km from Aizawl, at the meeting site. She thanked the 42 families in Chhingchhip who donated their land for the school. Official sources in Aizawl today said though the inauguration was scheduled at the school site, Sonia could not risk flying there because of inclement weather.