HC directs UP to file counter affidavit

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Allahabad, Dec 17 (UNI) Allahabad High Court today directed the Uttar Pradesh government to file a counter affidavit to place on record as to how the identification of persons below poverty line (BPL) is going on and what steps are being taken in this regard.

This order was passed by a division bench comprising Chief Justice H L Gokhale and Justice Pankaj Mittal on a PIL filed by the Akhil Bhartiya Samaj Sewa Sansthan through its director Bhagwat Prasad on the grim situation of hunger deaths and farmers suicides in Bundelkhand region.

The counter - affidavit has to be either of the Commissioner of the concerned division or of a senior officer of the state food and civil supply department, observed the HC.

On the chief standing counsel's request, the matter has been adjourned to January 11, 2008.

The PIL was filed after a thorough inquiry and fact finding by a joint team of Sansthan and the Human Rights Law Network. It was also based on visit reports of eminent journalist like Bharta Dogra and Pratap Somvanshi.

In the PIL, it has been raised that Bundelkhand region of UP consisting of seven districts with 7.8 million population and area of 29,000 sq km has more than 75 per cent of the population living below the poverty line.

Six out of the seven districts of Bundelkhand are already included in the list of poorest districts.

In the last five yrs, there were several hundred deaths including suicide of farmers and poor people and hunger deaths reported in the media.

There are numerous stories of suicide due to coercive method and inhuman treatment meted out by private bankers and moneylenders for recovery of loans from the farmers.


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