July 17, 2010 3:53:58 am
The Human Development Report,jointly prepared by the state governments Department of Planning and Development and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),has revealed the stark poverty and hunger in parts of Bengal.
Startling facts have been revealed in the three districts North 24-Parganas,South 24-Parganas and North Dinajpur where the study was carried out. For example in North 24-Parganas,according to the report,about 32.8 per cent of the families dont get two square meals a day during an entire year.
The incidence of hunger was higher in the riverine area,closely followed by Border Area. The scenario was somewhat better in other rural areas,where the percentage of such people was 29, says the report regarding North 24-Parganas district.
This despite the fact that agricultural productivity in the district is quite impressive,as it produces 217.86 kg of cereal per rural population.
Similarly in Uttar Dinajpur district,the report points out that it is one of the most backward districts of the state with 47.6 per cent of rural households living below poverty line as per the 2002 data.
The district has another dubious distinction. Just one fifth of the children have completed full course of immunisation.
The report also says that 69 per cent of the work force in the district comprises agricultural labourers while in the rest of the state the percentage is 44.
In South 24-Parganas,the report states that 35 per cent people live below the poverty line. Employment generation strategies have not worked well in South 24 Parganas. The number of man-days generated is the third lowest among the districts. Given the low per capita income and the highest concentration of backward classes in the district,this implies low levels of economic security, adds the report.
Along with this the district has a risk of increased vulnerability because of natural calamities.
Natural disasters,especially cyclones and storm frequently hits South 24-Parganas.
The southern part of the district comprising the Sundarbans delta mostly bears the brunt of such disasters, the report says. It also points out that people in Sunderbans are highly vulnerable to climate change.
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