By Paritosh Chakma
IN JULY 2010, the Planning Commission approved Rs 2873.13 crores for Mizoram’s flagship scheme, New Land Use Policy (NLUP) whose main objective is to “develop and give all farmers in the state suitable, permanent and stable trades” and thereby, put an end to “wasteful shifting cultivation”. The NLUP aims to cover 120,000 families in the first five years.
But since day one, doubts have been raised about the implementation of the programme. The ruling Congress party has been particularly accused of handpicking its own party supporters although the tax payers’ money channeled by the Central government should have been utilized to select “Jhumia families” who met the eligibility requirements, without any bias based on party affiliations.
Now, it seems that the accusations are not without any worth. The Seven Sisters Post, published from Guwahati, today [16 October, 2012] carried a story titled “Mizoram’s flagship project ‘lacks’ market strategy”, which stated that a study conducted by Mizoram Presbyterian Church’s synod social front found that a whopping 88.6 per cent of the beneficiaries were members of the ruling Congress party. Only 0.03 per cent of the beneficiaries belonged to the largest opposition party Mizo National Front while 0 .06 per cent was from smaller party Mizoram People’s Conference. As many as 10.3 per cent of the beneficiaries were neutral voters.
The findings of the study somehow justify the opposition parties’ allegations that the NLUP was a ‘Congress-party-only’ policy.