Centre lens on girl death

Union food minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Wednesday said a central team would be sent to Jharkhand to probe the alleged hunger death of a 11-year-old Simdega girl on a day state food and civil supplies department issued a fresh advisory asking officials to verify whether any genuinely needy family was denied foodgrain for lack of Aadhaar linkage.

By OUR BUREAU
  • Published 19.10.17
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New Delhi/ Ranchi: Union food minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Wednesday said a central team would be sent to Jharkhand to probe the alleged hunger death of a 11-year-old Simdega girl on a day state food and civil supplies department issued a fresh advisory asking officials to verify whether any genuinely needy family was denied foodgrain for lack of Aadhaar linkage.

Santoshi Kumari starved to death on September 28, alleged her family, claiming they did not get PDS rice after February as the ration card of the girl's grandmother was cancelled for not being linked to Aadhaar.

"If poor people die of hunger, it is a matter of concern. We will send a central probe team," Paswan said, adding the state had been asked to submit a report.

The state maintains the girl died of malaria. But, food activists backed the family's claim of starvation, slamming the overzealous state government that in effect denied foodgrain to the poorest of the poor to weed out fake beneficiaries.

In response, state food and civil supplies department decided to check the status of 11.5 lakh ration cards nullified this April 5 for not being Aadhaar linked. People who lack Aadhaar but have other ID proofs will get ration, but their Aadhaar enrolment must be done, said its secretary Vinay Kumar Choubey. "But, no one should be denied food," he added.

In a damage-control measure, Simdega DC Manjunath Bhajantri suspended the PDS licence of Bhola Sahu, who refused foodgrain to Santoshi's kin, and block supply officer Ramesh Kumar.

The DC also called for the suspension of the village ANM for not reporting the girl's illness on time.