Facing a barrage of criticism in the wake of death of a woman in Giridih allegedly due to starvation, the Jharkhand Food department on Thursday proposed that the state government set up a foodgrain bank of varied capacity at block and panchayat level.
Jharkhand Food, Public Distribution and Consumer Affair Minister, Saryu Roy, also said that his department has written to all the district administrations to conduct a post-mortem if any suspected case of starvation death was reported.
“I have proposed that the government set up a foodgrain bank of 10 quintal capacity at block level and one quintal capacity at panchayat level,” Roy told reporters. The minister said that the bank could be managed either by his department or Rural Development or by Social Welfare department.
The Jharkhand government has drawn flak in the wake of 58-year-old Savitri Devi dying allegedly due to starvation in Mangargadi village of Giridih district after being denied foodgrains at ration shop. However an official probe report made public by the state government has said she was suffering from a disease and has ruled out starvation for her death, citing Rs 2,375 in her bank account.
Besides, the Giridih case, another suspected starvation death in Itkhori of Chatra district recently has been reported in the media. Roy said the woman hailed from Barachatti of adjoining Bihar and she came to Itkhori about a fortnight ago.
“However, a post-mortem was conducted on the directive of the district administration and we are awaiting the autopsy report to know the exact cause of her death,” he added.
The minister cited the probe report on Giridih incident to trash the opposition attack and accused them of running a campaign against the government over the issue to “defame” it. “Why didn’t JMM MLA Jagannath Mahato, who was present at her funeral procession, ask for a post-mortem if she had died of starvation?” the minister said.
About JPCC President Ajoy Kumar’s demand that he resign owning moral responsibility for the death of Savitri Devi, Roy said Kumar, who himself is a doctor, should have tried to find out the details before asking for the resignation.
“The demand is nothing but a conspiracy to target the government,” he said.