SHILLONG, July 23 - Collusion between village heads and State government officials in denying food grains to poor villagers under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) has once again come out in the open in Meghalaya.
In one such instance from the remote village of Mawsiangei near Indo-Bangla border in Shella, East Khasi Hills, villagers are being allegedly extorted by the village heads Rs 7 for each kg of rice they lift under NFSA.
Under NFSA, Priority House Hold (PHH) or Below Poverty Line families have to Pay Rs 3 for a kg of rice. Each member of the family is allotted five kg of rice every month.
However, the Village Dorbar of Mawsiangei is not only charging Rs 7 extra on the actual price, but is also allotting just four kg of rice to each member of the family. One of the beneficiaries, Dran Khongphai from the village has said when the complaint of the extortion by the village heads and less allotment was taken to the Supply Inspector, Sohra, Z Kharkongor, the villagers were threatened by the official.
According to the beneficiary, the official said instead coerced the villagers to sign a “peace agreement” with the village heads and dealers.
Khongphai didn’t sign the agreement but instead complained the matter to the Civil Society Women’s Organisation (CSWO). He further narrated that the Supply Inspector has chided the villagers to become dealers if they want proper allotments.
Moreover, the villagers have alleged that the dealer in the village under the direction of the village council distributes the PDS items for just a day. According to norms the PDS items must be available throughout the month and not on any specific date. The CSWO, meanwhile, has said that it would be compelled to file criminal charges against the State Government official for not taking action against the village heads and also threatening the villagers.