NHRC asks Orissa Chief Secretary to provide details of hunger deaths

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New Delhi, Feb 25(ANI): National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday issued a notice to Orissa Chief Secretary Tarunkanti Mishra seeking a report on the reported death of 50 persons in Balangir district of the state due to hunger within four weeks.

Media reports alleged that chronic hunger led to the death of fifty persons in Balangir district. Taking suo motu cognisance of a media report, the commission has also decided to send its team to Balangir district in the state to ascertain the ground realities.

The report published in a leading English daily dated February 24 alleged that in the last two years about three hundred children were orphaned following death of their parents due to chronic hunger and prolonged malnourishment in the five blocks of the district located in the dreaded Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput belt of Orissa.

The blocks mentioned were Khaprakhol, Belpada, Tureikela, Bangomunda and Muribahal.

The report also mentioned that the public distribution system has holes. Despite a Below Poverty Line (BPL) survey being done in 2002, the distribution was done as per the 1997 BPL survey.

The report says that people, who have branched out from their families in the last 13 years are not entitled to PDS facilities. Besides, those who migrated to other states in 1997 were also left out of the BPL list.

The Commission in its notice has observed that the contents of the press report, if true raise a serious issue of human right violation of the victims.

It has asked the Chief Secretary of the state to provide the Commission with following details: details of persons reported to have died along with the reasons for deaths and details of deceased, who were provided with PDS facilities under the Antyodaya scheme.

The Chief Secretary has also been asked to provide details of the families in Balangir district, who have been provided with ration cards facilities under the BPL and Antyodaya Scheme and what measures have been taken by the Administration to strengthen the Public Distribution System and Health care in the district.

Earlier on January 14, the Commission under case no 24/18/2/2010 had asked the Orissa Chief Secretary to submit within four weeks the details that led to the deaths of Jhintu and his family members in the region.

The Commission is yet to receive those reports from the Chief Secretary. (ANI)

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