Aizawl: Opposition Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) on Thursday urged chief minister Zoramthanga to stick to his promise of augmenting rice production in the state.
ZPM is an electoral alliance formed by six political parties, which is mulling to merge as a single political party. A press statement issued by the alliance said the chief minister has several times declared that Mizoram will become self-dependent in food grains.
In October last year, Zoramthanga had said that the state will no more depend on neighbouring states for rice supply, if the Mizo National Front (MNF) come to power.
According to statistical handbook (2016 & 2017), the state harvested 61,516 metric tons of rice during 2016-2017 which is 56% of the state’s total requirement in a year.
Considering the purchase of rice from the FCI and the fact that rural populaces are heavy depending on rice from public distribution system, the ZPM said that the data could have been miscalculated.
The alliance said that Mizoram spends as much as Rs 250 crore , which is 3% of its annual budget, for purchase of rice from neighbouring states in a year.
Quoting Remote Sensing and Geographical Information System (GIS), ZPM said that there are 77,466 hectares of cultivable lands in the state, of which only 16,862 hectares are being used and exploited. The remaining 68% are being left fallow, it said.
The alliance asked the state government to make public how far he has taken step to augment food grain production in the state and also to fulfill his promise.
On Tuesday, Zoramthanga convened a meeting with state agricultural development board and said that priority should be given to agriculture. He had said that mechanised system should be introduced for large scale production of rice.