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Right to food crusade takes poll vault

To mount pressure on the state government to implement the National Food Security Act (2013) in a full-fledged manner, a few civil society organisations, crusaders of the state chapter of Right to Food Campaign and NGOs have decided to make this their top demand during the upcoming Assembly elections.

More than 60 representatives — who assembled from across the state at HRDC Hall in Ranchi on Sunday to attend a daylong state-level meeting of Right to Food Campaign — said they would soon start signature and postcard drives to demand proper implementation of the Act.

The crusaders also demanded that the daal-bhaat scheme be revived. Under the scheme, which has remained unofficially suspended since 2011, meal was available at Rs 5.

Balram, the state adviser to Supreme Court appointed commissioners on Right to Food cases, along with Gurjeet Singh and Jawahar Mehta — both members of Right to Food Campaign — conducted the meeting.

Divulging details of their plans, an official said that schoolchildren would be encouraged to write postcards to the chief minister, asking him to ensure eggs on their mid-day menu at least thrice a week while panchayat samiti members would be requested to sign petitions, demanding implementation of the Act.

The National Food Security Act 2013 was enacted by the Centre on July 5 last year and was supposed to be implemented in all states on the same day this year. The Union government granted laggard states three months’ extra time.

“Under the Act, a nutritious meal is the right of every child (aged between six and 14 years) at school or anganwadi centre daily. It also has provisions of Rs 6,000 for every pregnant woman. Further, 86 per cent households in rural Jharkhand are to be covered under the public distribution system,” said Balram.

As a part of a number of agitations to press for full-fledged implementation of the Act in Jharkhand, the crusaders of Right to Food Campaign had launched an Anda Abhiyan in all government schools on July 4. They had further organised a rally of villagers at Manika in Latehar district and even opened a dialogue with MLAs on the issue in Ranchi on July 31.


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