RANCHI: Shortage of foodgrain and absence of ration cards have forced a Dalit family at Hesatu in Latehar to eat wild tuber roots. This is the same village where five-year-old girl Nimani had allegedly died of hunger on May 16.
Chief Minister Hemant Soren has asked the Deputy Commissioner to identify such families and provide them immediate help after a video of the villagers eating tuber roots went viral on Friday. In the video, Kuldeep Bhuiyan, a Dalit, is seen explaining why his family is forced to consume wild tuber roots amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Due to lockdown, we have been unable to get work and money to buy foodgrains,” said Bhuiyan. He said his family has not got any support from the state government as it is not covered under the Public Distribution System. “This situation will not be tolerated. Identify all such families in the district and provide immediate help,” CM Soren told the local administration via Twitter handle.
A team of officials has rushed to the village to check how Bhuiyan’s family remained unattended despite the fact that each family in the village was issued a ration card during a special drive launched four months back. “A team of District Supply Officer, Block Development Officer and others has been sent to the village to look into the matter and submit a report,” said Latehar DC Zeeshan Qamar.
After Nimani’s death, the CM had launched a special drive in the village to cover everyone under PDS.
Nimani’s mother, Kalawati Devi, said she struggled to feed her children for two months with no food in the house after her husband Jaglal Bhuiyan was trapped in a brick kiln in Latehar. The Dalit family, with no land and a ration card, did not have any food left in the house, leading to the death of Nimani on May 16. The child’s mother did not receive much support from the government except one instalment of `500 in her Jan Dhan Yojana account and small amounts of food or cash from anganwadi centres.