Meghalaya, July 6: The Centre has earmarked more than 1.32 lakh MT of foodgrains for Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Tripura under the fourth phase of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY-IV).
Addressing the media persons here on Monday, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) general manager for the NEF region, PN Singh said that the central government, owing to the COVID-19 scenario, has decided to continue with the distribution of free foodgrains under PMGKAY-IV till November.
He informed that the scheme covers 21.46 lakh beneficiaries in Meghalaya, 6.68 lakh in Mizoram and 24.83 lakh under FCI, NEF region. “This allocation is in addition to National Food Security Act (NFSA) and the entire expenses will be borne by the Centre. The state governments under the NEF region have shown enthusiastic response towards lifting additional allocation under the PMGKAY-IV as announced by the Centre,” Singh said.
It was also informed that the expenditure on the special allotment of foodgrains under the NFSA will only be borne by the Centre.
Informing that a team of state government and FCI officials inspect the quality of foodgrains as soon as they reach the FCI godowns, Singh said the onus to lift the foodgrains from the FCI and distribute among various beneficiaries lies with the state government.
“We are accountable as long as the rice remains in our godowns. Our responsibility ends as soon as the foodgrains are lifted from the godowns,” Singh added.
It was also informed by the officials that there is no dearth of PDS foodgrains in Meghalaya currently, adding that the stock of foodgrains is kept in the six godowns of the FCI.
Singh also said he is oblivious to the alleged plastic rice which was detected by the Mawroh Dorbar Shnong recently.
PMGKAY was first introduced in 2020 for eight months to provide relief to 80 crore beneficiaries covered under the NFSA from COVID-induced economic hardships.
The scheme was reintroduced this year for the third phase implementation for two months till June and later extended till November under the fourth phase.
Free grains are provided under PMGKAY over and above the quota allocated at highly subsidized rates under NFSA to these beneficiaries.
Meanwhile, the Centre on Monday said that distribution of free foodgrains under the PMGKAY-IV has started in seven states and about 14,700 tonnes have been allotted to beneficiaries so far.
About 70.6 lakh tonnes of food grains were distributed in the third phase of PMGKAY between May and June, it was informed.