From Rajkishor Mishra,
State Advisor Secretariat
Incidence of hunger and starvation is not new to Odisha. The issue was raised at the highest court of India by Late Sri Kishen Pattnaik and Sri Kapil Narayan Tiwari way back in 1985 and direction to curb such incident by the Apex court has come during 1989. After that, hearing the case of PUCL vs Union of India and others in the year 2001 (ongoing case), the honourable Supreme Court also have given directions to governments to check hunger and starvation. But as per data available from government of Odisha there are 404 cases of alleged starvation deaths reported in last nine years.
It is interesting to note that the situation of hunger and cases of starvation death is not limited to any particular region tribal and western districts of Odisha (as was the case earlier). According to the official sources, highest numbers of alleged starvation death complaints (50) were received from Keonjhar district followed by 45 in Khurda. Kalahandi reported 40 such incidents while Nuapada 20. 31 starvation cases were reported from Bargarh while 33 cases were reported from Ganjam followed by 27 from Jajpur district.
The State Advisor Secretariat has been trying to raise this issue through fact finding and immediate follow up on 33 cases since 2009. Apart from it, many cases of people living with hunger and starvation have been followed up to save valuable lives. Experience shows that there are many issues, at the level of community, policy and administration, still lying unaddressed making the poor more vulnerable to situation of hunger and starvation.
It has been proved that examining hunger and starvation in individuals / community and prevent it is not an easy task. But with proper policy and programmes in place with high degree of accountability and community response we can prevent the cases of hunger and starvation. At this backdrop the State Advisor Secretariat with Asian Human Rights Commission is going to organise a State Level Consultation on 7 September, 2013 in CYSD, Mahanadi Conference Hall, Bhubaneswar.
The main objectives of this consultation are;
· To share the experience of state advisor secretariat to discuss and understand meaning and aspects of hunger and starvation,
· To disseminate the idea mentioned in the Starvation Protocol developed by the Commissioner’s of Supreme Court of India for probing and prevention of such awful happenings,
· To know different mechanisms (including prevalent Government Programmes) to prevent hunger and starvation deaths, and
· To come out with a concrete plan (for community, implementation and policy matter) to deal with the situation of hunger so that the cases of starvation death could be checked.
Date – 7th September, 2013
Venue – CYSD, Mahanadi Conference Hall, Bhubaneswar.
You may write to Rajkishor Mishra <[email protected]> for details.