Starvation claims five lives in drought-hit Bihar districts
Posted by Admin on August 15, 2009
PATNA: Starvation has claimed five lives in two drought-afflicted districts in Bihar, despite measures taken by the State government to provide 1.26 crore food grains to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families.
A woman and her infant died in Jhanwatola village in Nalanda district on Wednesday. The deceased, Phulmati Devi, who belonged to the Maha Dalit community, was a farm labourer.
Sources said that despite being “yellow-card” holders, Maha Dalit families in the village were out of work for months and were not provided rations.
Meanwhile, three people have died in Jehanabad district due to acute hunger in the last three days. The deceased were identified as Kunti Devi, Charittar Dom, and Janardan Mahto.
Two of them belonged to Dalit communities, and one to the Extreme Backward Caste (EBC) community. All three were residents of Rattubigha Tola, which comes under Ghosi block.
Though the Sub Divisional Magistrate denied that the people had died of starvation, the villagers have stated that the deceased, despite holding BPL and Antoday Yojana cards, did not receive rations on time.
Rakesh Ranjan, Block Development Officer of Ghosi Block, said that if the villagers had been “deprived of government allotted food grains, then it was likely they had died due to starvation.”
Earlier, a Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation probe team visited both the districts.
The team said the government’s claims of providing one quintal of rice and a cash dole of Rs.250 to every BPL family was hollow, as most of the villagers in the tola were malnourished and suffered from other hunger-related diseases.
The CPI (ML) plans to stage a ‘demand demonstration’ at the party block headquarters to protest against the hunger deaths and demand immediate relief to the drought-hit districts. The Hindu