One lakh quintals of rice for three main Mizoram towns including state capital Aizawl will be imported from Myanmar in view of the railway gauge conversion that is expected to hamper supplies into the landlocked state, a government statement said Thursday.
The Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation of India Ltd. (MMTC) had on Monday floated tenders to import the rice, and the tendering process is expected to be complete within the next two weeks.
The Indian Railways’ plans to convert from metre to broad-gauge the line from Lumding to Silchar in Assam is expected to hamper the supply of essential commodities into Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and southern Assam’s Barak Valley region.
The gauge conversion is set to begin by October 1 and is expected to be complete by March next year.
The Mizoram government has said the imported rice would enter Mizoram at Zokhawthar in eastern Champhai district, and senior officials from the MMTC and the FCI have already landed there to review road conditions for the movement of trucks that would be ferrying the rice supplies.
Roughly half of the monthly 40,000-odd quintals of rice supplied to Mizoram by the FCI is currently transported by rail and the gauge conversion work would mean this would stop for at least five months and be brought in by trucks through national highways 44 and 54.
Mizoram’s monthly requirement of rice apart from the FCI supplied consignment is about 90,000 quintals.