Dhanbad/Ranchi: It’s not even a month, since Santoshi Kumari, an 11-year-old girl died of hunger in Simdega, and news of a rickshaw puller dying due to hunger in Dhandbad’s Sindri area is now making to the headlines.
Baijnath Ravidas, a quinquagenarian, had no ration in his house, when he died, claimed locals as well as ward councillor Sailendra Singh. Many claimed that he was unable to get ration as he had yet to have his ration card issued. Earlier his name was included in his elder brother Jago Ravidas’ card.
“In Dhanbad district, one can’t have these cards issued without a middleman. They rule here. He had applied for a ration card, which is yet to be issued. He was a poor man, but he neither had his Below Poverty Line (BPL) or ration card,” said the ward councillor.
Baijnath had two sons, of whom, one lives separately, while the other get jobs on casually, not regular.
Like the Simdega case, where Santoshi died while asking for boiled rice (bhaat), as claimed by her mother the administration conveniently claimed it to be a malaria death, here too, Dhanbad district administration, is claiming that the death is due to prolonged illness and not hunger. As soon as the local channels began relaying the news of Baijnath’s death, the administration issued a communiqué claiming that he had applied for a ration card, only four days back and was about to have it issued soon.
Deputy Commissioner A Dodde, while ruled out the news of Baijnath’s household not having any ration, by stating that his wife worked as a domestic help. However, he accepted the fact that one lakh ration cards have been deleted since NFSA (National Food Security Act) has been implemented.
Significantly, it is not only in Baijnath but also in Santoshi’s case, that many observed the government opting for a cover-up. JMM MLA, Polus Surin has alleged that a team sent by Union Food Supply and Consumer Minister Ram Vilash Paswan to inquire into the death of Santoshi had been sent back from Ranchi itself. They were not allowed to reach Simdega.
He has also claimed that the report sent by Simdega deputy commissioner claiming that the minor girl had died due malaria is completely false. He had further added that the girl’s mother is being harassed for bringing forth the truth. He has even set off an alarm, stating that that if anything happens to the mother, then. The district administration should b held responsible. Surin also claimed that JMM would be raising the issue inside state assembly and upper and lower houses of the Parliament.