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Odisha starvation death: NHRC asks Puri collector to act against officials

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 2:

Taking strong exception to the gross apathy of the concerned officials resulting in the death of a 57-year-old man of Brahmagiri block in Odisha’s Puri district last year, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the district administration to take action against them.

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The directive of the Commission has come in response to a petition filed by rights activist Akhand, who had alleged that while the deceased Sagar Gochhayat of Khandualpur village of Brahmagiri block had died of starvation on October 8 last year, his wife Simula was on the verge of death due to starvation as the district administration was yet to provide her the BPL ration card, old age pension and other benefits.

Acting on the complaint, the Commission later directed the Puri collector to submit a report in the matter.

Thereport, submitted to the Commission after 11 months in September this year, had stated that the victim, who was suffering from paralysis one month prior to his death, was given the benefit of the Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) during the year 1998-99 and rice under Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY). But there was no mention in the report about any medical treatment provided to the deceased and widow pension to his wife.

“The death of victim was due to starvation and the authorities have not submitted any specific information about the benefits of welfare schemes given to him and his wife,” the petitioner had contended.

The Commission, while hearing the petition, observed that granting of house under IAY in 1998-99 or providing rice under AAY clearly indicate that the victim was from a poor family.

Stating that the report of the district administration did not inspire confidence, the Commission later directed the district collector to submit his detailed report in the matter within four weeks.

“The report shall inter alia indicate the status of welfare schemes given to deceased before his death, including the medical facilities and the status of welfare schemes given to his widow,” the Commission said while directing the collector to take appropriate action against delinquent officers, if any, in the matter.