RANCHI: The death of 58-year-old Savitri Devi, allegedly due to hunger, at Mangargarhi village in Jharkhand’s Giridih district has once again put the state government in the dock as it has come to light that she was not given ration card despite having Aadhaar card.
Social activists in the area claimed she had applied for the ration card a year ago, but was yet to get it.
Chief Minister Raghubar Das has sought detailed report from the district administration within 12 hours. A district administration team visited her house to investigate into the “real cause of death”.
However, Ramdeo Vishwabandhu, a Right to Food activist, said, “Savitri Devi was living with her two daughters-in-law and four grandchildren. She apparently starved to death as no foodgrain was found in the house. It is a landless family. Her two sons migrated to other states due to lack of resources in the village to make two ends meet.”
He alleged that despite an application submitted to the block development office seeking ration card for the family, it was not issued and was cited by officials to be under process despite a year having lapsed.
A bank account was opened in Savitri Devi’s name on January 21, 2014 for widow pension, but little money had been transferred to her account. “When we inquired, it was found that `1,800 was credited in her account on April 4, which was not withdrawn probably due to ignorance,” said Vishwabandhu. He termed it “sheer irresponsibility” on the part of the state government that her widow pension wasn’t credited into her account.
Savitri Devi’s daughter-in-law Saraswati claimed foodgrains were denied to the family for not having a ration card. “Despite efforts made by us to get a ration card, no one in the district administration paid heed,” she said. She said the others in the family managed somehow by begging from the villagers as they were not able to contact their husbands. But Savitri could not survive due to her frail health.
Giridih Deputy Commissioner Manoj Kumar was reluctant to comment and said that it was a matter of investigation why she was not issued a ration card despite having Aadhaar card.