Although the state government of Odisha claims to have offered subsidised rations and meals to individuals who fall into the BPL categories to combat poverty and hunger in the state, a story that broke people’s hearts was reported from the Jajpur district. According to the report, an old childless man died of starvation after allegedly suffering from it for a longer period.
Gobinda Behera, a native of Shantipada village in Pritipur panchayat in Binjharpur block in Jajpur district, was determined to be the victim. It is believed that he passed away on Saturday night from malnutrition.
However, this was not the end of the tragic event. Even after his passing, there was no change in the government’s indifference. The people claimed that the Harischandra Yojana did not give the necessary funds for the cremation of the deceased under its auspices.
Following the villagers’ demand for an investigation into the occurrence, the block administration assured them that a decision will be made about this matter shortly.
“Gobinda died yesterday night. Regarding the death from malnutrition, Binjharpur BDO Damodar Khuntia stated that a decision will be made the next day, on Monday, because the block office is closed on Sundays.
On the other hand, the chairman of the Binjharpur block, Nanda Kishore Samal, claimed that he was uninformed of the occurrence.
The sarpanch of the village, Jhunulata Behera, confirmed the fact that aid under the Harischandra Yojana had not been delivered to Gobinda. On Monday, she stated that the relatives of the dead person’s family will receive support from the government as well as individual assistance.
There were allegations that Gobinda’s wife had passed away around four years ago. As a result of his advanced age and inability to perform any kind of manual labour, he was starving and laying in a home in the Indira Awas neighbourhood. Food would occasionally be given to him by the people who lived nearby. After the passing of his wife, the impoverished man was left to care for alone while enduring a series of debilitating illnesses. He was unable to seek medical attention in a hospital due to his lack of financial resources.
Even though several reports on the situation of the elderly man were published in the Odia newspaper ‘Sambad,’ the government’s indifference towards him persisted unabated.