PATNA: Less than a fortnight after an 11-year-old girl died allegedly due to starvation in Jharkhand’s Simdega district as her family was denied food-grains under Public Distribution System (PDS), reports of a 50-year-old man’s death due to starvation in Dhanbad district emerged on Sunday.
Even as the local people claimed that Baidyanath Ravidas died because he had no rice at his home for a week, the Dhanbad district administration denied that starvation was the cause of death. Ravidas, a rickshaw-puller, did not have either a BPL card or a ration card for the past several months, said the local people. He died at his home at Manghra village in Dhanbad’s Jharia block on Friday.
“This death was not caused due to starvation. I spoke to officials and they said this man had died due to health complications. I have asked the secretary of the food and public distribution department to visit the village and submit a report,” said Jharkhand’s food and public distribution minister Saryu Rai, who was on a visit to Patna on Sunday.
Ravidas’s family members told journalists that there was no rice in the house for the past fortnight and that they had not been given a ration card despite having applied for it. Ward councillor Shailendra Singh of ward number 37 said the district administration was indifferent to applications for ration cards.
Dhanbad deputy commissioner A Dodde said Ravidas’s family was “not extremely poor” and that he died due to a highly aggravated condition of asthma. Dodde, however, admitted that Ravidas did not have a ration card.
“Ravidas had made an online application for a ration card in his wife Pavati Devi’s name on September 22 and its processing is in the final stage,” added Dodde. “I have asked for a probe to find out how this family’s earlier application for a ration card was delayed by months,” he said.
Santoshi Devi, an 11-year-old girl in Karimati village in Simdega district’s Jaldega block, died on September 28 allegedly after an eight-day starvation because the local PDS dealer had refused her family food-grains without Aadhaar linkage of their ration card.