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Centre to give in-kind assistance to Manipur’s IDPs in Mizoram

Aizawl: The central government has finally responded to Mizoram’s persistent pleas for humanitarian assistance to the thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Manipur seeking refuge in the state. However, the nature of the assistance has taken officials by surprise.

A high-ranking official in the Mizoram government revealed on Saturday that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had informed the state government on Thursday that humanitarian aid for the nearly 12,000 internally displaced people from Manipur sheltering in Mizoram would be provided in the form of goods rather than cash.

State Home Commissioner H. Lalengmawia expressed that this could be the first instance of the central government offering humanitarian aid to IDPs in India in kind.

Despite Mizoram’s Chief Minister Zoramthanga’s request for assistance four months ago, the Centre had not extended help to the Manipur IDPs residing in Mizoram until recently.

On May 23, Zoramthanga had initially requested the Centre to allocate Rs 10 crore for humanitarian aid and relief for the IDPs. However, the Ministry of Home Affairs remained unresponsive until two days ago.

Lalengmawia further revealed that, in compliance with the MHA’s instructions, the state government submitted a detailed proposal on Friday outlining the requirements of the IDPs in the form of rice, lentils, potatoes, edible oil, onions, medicines, medical equipment, and other necessities. The proposal initially covers a six-month period.

The submission of this proposal followed verbal communication from the MHA, which had sought detailed information regarding the in-kind requirements for the IDPs.

An anonymous official from the state home department noted that while the Ministry of Home Affairs had provided financial assistance to the Tripura government for IDPs belonging to the Bru community in Mizoram, the provision of in-kind assistance to such a large number of IDPs was unprecedented in the country’s history.

Previously, Mizoram’s Finance Department had disbursed Rs 5 crore from the state treasury to provide humanitarian aid and relief to the Manipur IDPs sheltering in the state. Additionally, the Executive Committee of IDPs from Manipur in Mizoram had received donations exceeding Rs 81 lakh from government employees.

The funds, both from the state government and donations, are initially being used to reimburse expenses incurred by the state Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs department for providing rice to the IDPs, as well as expenses borne by district administrations.

The influx of IDPs from Manipur began shortly after ethnic tensions erupted between the majority Meitei community and the minority ethnic Mizo community in the neighboring state on May 3.

On May 16, Zoramthanga initially requested Rs 5 crore in humanitarian aid from the Centre, but he later raised the request to Rs 10 crore on May 23, as the number of IDPs taking shelter in the state continued to grow. As of Saturday, Mizoram is accommodating 11,973 IDPs from Manipur.

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