Public hearing on starvation deaths in Palamu
� vivekdse wrote:
Mon, 01 Jul 2002 07:41:26 -0000
Subject: [RightToFood] Urgent - Public hearing on starvation deaths in Palamu
PUBLIC HEARING ON THE RIGHT TO FOOD
(MANATU, PALAMAU, 9 JULY)
We are writing to invite you to a public hearing on the "right to
food", to be held in Manatu (district Palamau) on Tuesday, 9 July,
from 10 am to 4 pm.
This public hearing will be taking place in the thick of one's of
India's most deprived and troubled areas, in response to the critical
situation that has developed there. You may be aware that three
starvation deaths have recently been reported in Kusumatand, a poor
hamlet in Manatu panchayat. A fact-finding team, composed of members
of Gram Swaraj Abhiyan and the Right to Food Campaign, recently
visited Kusumatand and found that these deaths are nothing but the
extreme manifestation of a massive problem of endemic hunger in the
area. Most people in Kusumatand live in a state of permanent
semi-starvation. Aside from whatever little khudi (broken rice) they
are able to buy, they survive mainly from wild foods such as mahua,
chakora and gethi. They also drink highly polluted water from shallow
wells. It is no wonder that the famished and exhausted people of
Kusumatand die regularly of trivial hunger-related diseases.
This disastrous situation is partly due to the comprehensive failure
of development programmes and welfare schemes in the area.
work in Manatu is at a standstill. There are no drought relief
programmes, even though the area has been declared
Even after the hunger deaths occurred and received wide media
attention, the government remained passive. Instead of taking action
to help the people of Kusumatand, the authorities dismissed the
stories (without proper evidence) and attempted to muzzle those who
had reported the hunger deaths.
The situation in Manatu also reflects gross violations of recent
Supreme Court orders on the right to food (PUCL vs Union of India,
2001-2) on the part of the Jharkhand government. To illustrate, the
government has blissfully ignored the Supreme Court order to
cooked mid-day meals in all primary schools by 28 May 2001.
BPL households in Manatu have not received any grain from the public
distribution system during the last 12 months. Even Antyodaya
households have been mercilessly robbed.
Against this background, members of Gram Swaraj Abhiyan and the Right
to Food Campaign have decided to convene a public hearing on the
to food in Manatu on Tuesday, 9 July. This will be an opportunity for
people to voice their complaints, learn about their entitlements, and
plan further action to claim their right to food. We appeal to you to
support this effort by joining the public hearing in full strength.
Byomkesh, Ajit, Manoj, Bhola, Ashrita, Jean
(Gram Swaraj Abhiyan and Right to Food support group)
For directions to Manatu and other details, please contact Ajit Minz
(tel 06562-27264) or Balram (tel 9835130850) or Vivek
(vivekdse@...) or Manoj Kumar Singh (tel 06566-85483) or
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