Sinlung /
13 December 2013

Even Before swearing-in, government pushing forward with continuing halted flagship scheme

ThanhawlaLal Thanhawla had promised during campaign season that the NLUP, halted by the ECI due to complaints by opposition parties, would be continued immediately.

Aizawl, Dec 13 : With the Congress set to form a government for the second consecutive term, the Mizoram government is wasting no time in continuing it's flagship beneficiary scheme beginning with a high-level meeting on Friday to decide on land-use conversion and teams scheduled to visit sites earmarked for infrastructure projects. The NLUP implementing board is scheduled to have a meeting headed by Chief Secretary on Friday, a day before state Congress president Lal Thanhawla is set to be sworn in as CM for the fifth time.

Lal Thanhawla had promised during campaign season that the NLUP, halted by the ECI due to complaints by opposition parties, would be continued immediately after the elections were over. He had already told officials to continue the scheme as soon as possible even before counting day and results of the elections were known.

The high-level Friday meeting has been called, among others, to discuss the conversion of agricultural plots for industrial use at Kawnpui town, where two processing units for ginger and turmeric are being planned. Mizoram's new land law requires a case-by-case clearance for such land-use conversion.

With Mizoram's economy largely agrarian, the New Land Use Policy is a scheme under which families with no member as government employee are given money in installments through direct transfers to their bank accounts, which they use to enhance their livelihoods by using this to fund any of several trades they choose.

These optional trades include the production of several crops, small industries or even small private businesses.

While much of the money has already been disbursed, albeit installments still pending, the main thrust of the policy now is the marketing of the produce that has begun to accumulate or started from the labour already done by beneficiaries since the scheme began it's cash distribution component in 2010, and under which 1.2 lakh families have been covered.

The ginger and turmeric processing units mentioned earlier are also meant to convert the raw produce into readily marketable produce. Besides the two units mentioned, three teams are to visit various places within two weeks from now to survey locations for the setting up of collection centres of farm produce.

Retired Wing Commander Lalnghinglova, chairman of the NLUP Implementing Board's marketing cell, said the marketing component of the scheme is the main part of work left now that much of the funds have already been dispersed or are soon to be disbursed.

"We have no problem with buyers for these produce. There are various parties from Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Guwahati who are already roped in after they evinced interest. It is getting these produce to the market that is the main task ahead, said Lalnghinglova.

He added most of the processing units will be for easily perishable items, while regulated markets would be built at various points to sell others. The collection centres would facilitate the movement from farms to intermediate locations, and then to these markets.


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