The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Foreign NGO help for Mizoram

Silchar, April 6: Several charitable institutions, moved by the distress of Mizo villagers in the aftermath of the crop loss, will mobilise food relief for them.

The flowering of the bamboo plants in Mizoram is a queer ecological phenomenon that takes place every 48 years. The drove of rats, which feed on the fruits of the bamboo plants during this season, attain a sudden increase in their power of libido. As a result, they tend to give birth to more litters of their progeny, which rampage in the agriculture pastures, thus giving rise to crop failures.

Already two such overseas relief agencies are in Mizoram to render food supply to the villagers, who are now reeling under the famine. .

According to official reports from Aizawl, the Salvation Army, an evangelical body, has decided to set up 10 fair-deal centres in the remote areas of the state. The members of a Canadian NGO, Canada Norlyn Audio Vision Service, are already in the state scouting for the ravaged habitats there to distribute packaged food among the famine victims.

Stuart Roger Spani, a director of this NGO, who has arrived with four other volunteers, said their food relief articles, would be brought from Montreal and Ottawa.

Mike Cafful, a field operation specialist from the London headquarters of the Salvation Army, is already in the state to oversee the charity drive. He said the relief food materials would be distributed at half the price of their prevailing market rates.

Food and civil supplies minister Sangthuma said such foreign and national relief NGOs are welcome in his state in times of crisis.

Mizoram Governor M.M. Lakhera also expressed his concern at the food crisis looming large in the state in the wake of the mautam.

He said the Centre had reduced the rice quota of the FCI from its earlier monthly level of 6,810 tonnes to 5,000 tonnes at present, even as 90 per cent of the state’s rice harvest was lost last year because of this rat rampage.

He said the state government has decided to release Rs 12.93 crore from the state’s calamity relief fund.

The Mizoram government has also taken the decision to hike the weekly ration quota of rice from 2kg to 3kg in view of the crop loss.

Chief secretary Haukum Hauzel said the Mizo National Front government has also decided to distribute rice among the distressed families on credit, which would later be realised through manual labour in the government-sponsored infrastructure projects under the national employment assurance schemes.

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