Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Rayagada, Aug 28:
The district administration today made a desperate attempt to cover up the alleged deaths due to consumption of gruel made of mango kernel in Sipijodi village of Talajhiri panchayat under Kashipur block in Odisha’s Rayagada district by claiming that the deaths were for other reasons.
“There were complaints that two persons in Sipijodi had died after consuming gruel prepared from mango kernel. We conducted an inquiry on that today. A total of two persons have died. While a child aged between 10-12 years has died of fever, a person aged over 70 years has died. The old man and his wife were recipients of old age allowance. Their deaths have not been caused due to consumption of gruel made of mango kernel but for some other reason,” said Muralidhar Swain Sub Collector Rayagada to reporters who had visited Sipijodi today to conduct an administrative inquiry into the deaths.
“This morning the BDO has given us a packet of rice. We have cooked that and eaten too. Earlier, we used to eat roots, tubers, leaves and mango kernel to survive,” said deceased’s father Harpu Majhi.
The BDO has also given Rs 2000, he added.
On the other hand, a seven-member fact-finding team of the BJP led by the party’s district president Siva Sankar Ulaka today visited Kashipur to take stock of the situation.
“After so many years of independence, the death of two persons in Sipijodi after consuming mango kernel gruel is the most unfortunate. The BJD in its 17 years of rule has taken the state backward by 15 years. Sipijodi incident has exposed the apathy of the local administration and failure welfare schemes in the state,” said Ulaka.