Slur of hunger propaganda in Ranchi
Some activists in Jharkhand often spread propaganda about starvation without ascertaining the real cause of the deaths, Saryu Roy, state minister of food, civil supplies and consumer affairs, said on Friday.
Addressing a news meet at Suchana Bhavan, the minister said that often a person dies due to malnutrition and not due to total lack of food.
“Our job is to provide food grains to ration card holders and we ensure timely distribution. It has been seen that any death due to malnutrition is termed as a hunger death and our department is blamed whereas the fact is that this is the responsibility of the health department to look into these matters,” he said.
He said that during departmental meetings about food security he often invites activists and their suggestions are taken.
“Problem with activists is that they have drawn a line and they don’t want to come out of it. Even if facts are shared with them about any suspected hunger death, they don’t appreciate it. There are people who will always spread propaganda,” he said.
He said that in Jharkhand there are around 57 lakh below poverty line households and other deprived categories having ration cards.
“We regularly update our database to remove duplicity and fresh names are added,” he said.
The minister said that in Jharkhand there are 25,563 public distribution system (PDS) shops and distribution is done through biometric authentication system.
“But there are a number of PDS shops where Internet facility is not available; there, distribution is done with offline authentication. We came across the problem that biometric machines fail to read fingerprints of elderly persons and those who have no fingers. Now we are installing iris scanner to solve this problem,” he said.
Last month, the death of Ramcharan Munda, 65, in Durup, a remote Latehar village more than 170km from Ranchi, was linked to starvation, allegedly triggered by a two-month ration freeze that the dealer had blamed on Internet glitches.
Roy also said that under PM Ujjwala Yojana a total of 2,90,1059 LPG connections were issued to poor households and in the next three months an additional 14 lakh families will be covered under this scheme.