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regular-article-logo Thursday, 23 May 2024

Jharkhand food security violation: Ration anomalies revealed at public hearing

Villagers were made to do biometrics (thumb impression) but given food grains in less amount than specified after the biometrics, says social activist

Animesh Bisoee Jamshedpur Published 04.11.23, 06:01 AM
Villagers and the jury at the public hearing on food security at the Khuntpani block in West Singhbhum district on Thursday.

Villagers and the jury at the public hearing on food security at the Khuntpani block in West Singhbhum district on Thursday. Bhola Prasad

Rampant violation of National Food Security Act (NFSA) provisions and stealing ration of beneficiaries have come to the fore during a public hearing conducted by food security activists at a village in West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand.

The day-long public hearing conducted by Khadya Suraksha Jan Adhikar Manch, West Singhbhum unit, in Khuntpani block on Thursday for ration beneficiaries of four panchayats — Dopai, Bada Guntia, Loharda and Ruidih — had complaints ranging from stealing of ration (rice) by cheating beneficiaries to not giving ration for several months.

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Interestingly, the public hearing was conducted through sacrificial donations by the villagers themselves. However, the additional district collector (ADC), who is the grievance redressal officer (as per NFSA provision), did not turn up at the hearing and instead district supply officer, West Singhbhum, Sunila Khalkho, represented the district administration. Not a single ration dealer attended the public hearing.

“We had complaints from villagers that in August-September, the ration received by priority household (PHH) cardholders was reduced by more than half. In many villages, ration for even one month has not been given. But the entire amount was punched by the dealer in the name of the cardholders,” said Ramesh Jerai, who was part of the jury.

Each household is entitled to 5kg of food grains per person per month under the PHH ration card. These ration cards are given to the poor families who live in the rural parts of the state.

“Villagers were made to do biometrics (thumb impression) but given food grains in less amount than specified after the biometrics. All their complaints went unheeded by the dealers. We lodged complaints with the district grievance redressal officer who assured us to conduct a public hearing. But it did not happen, forcing the food security activists to conduct a hearing on their own in the presence of village heads and district administration officials,” said Ashok Mundri, a social activist in Khuntpani block.

There were also complaints of discrepancy in distribution of food grains for Antyodaya card holders with villagers complaining that they were given only 24kg of grains instead of the designated 35kg.

Azad Samaj Party protests in Jamshedpur

Around 30 members of Jamshedpur unit of Azad Samaj Party (political front of Chandra Shekhar Azad who espouses Dalit cause) burn effigy of BJP leader Sandeep Dayma in protest against his anti-Sikh and anti-Muslim statement given during a rally in Alwar, Rajasthan.

The protest was held near Sakchi in Jamshedpur, the industrial hub of Jharkhand on Friday afternoon. Azad Samaj Party district spokesperson Sardar Surjit Singh said that anti-Sikh and anti-Muslim mentality of BJP has come to the open with the speech by its leaders made in the presence of UP chief minister Adityanath Yogi who is seen clapping at the speech.

Members of Jamshedpur unit of the Azad Samaj Party burnt an effigy of BJP leader Sandeep Dayma in protest against his alleged anti-Sikh and anti-Muslim statements at a rally in Alwar, Rajasthan.

Members of Jamshedpur unit of the Azad Samaj Party burnt an effigy of BJP leader Sandeep Dayma in protest against his alleged anti-Sikh and anti-Muslim statements at a rally in Alwar, Rajasthan. Bhola Prasad

The activists demanded immediate arrest of the BJP leader for hate speech as per Supreme Court directive.

Incidentally, the speech by the BJP leader was made during an election rally for party candidate Baba Balaknath in the Tijara constituency of Rajasthan on Wednesday which is scheduled for assembly polls later this month.

Facing strong protest from Sikh community the BJP leader apologized to the Sikh community but in a statement shared on X (formerly Twitter) said, “I had said this for the mosques and madrassas” which raised objection from minority groups.

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