BHUBANESWAR: Opposition members today cornered the State Government in the assembly over the issue of alleged starvation death of a 55-year-old woman of Balangir district by demanding a statement from the revenue and disaster management minister on the issue.
The issue was raised by leader of the Opposition Narasingh Mishra as soon as the zero hour started. Stating that right to life is a fundamental right, Mishra alleged that Sua Dei of Gutupalli village in Balangir block of the district died of starvation on November 8. The old woman was alone in the house as the family members had migrated to other states in search of jobs because of the acute drought situation. Mishra said after he came to know about the incident from media reports, he immediately sent a person to verify the allegation.
"I found that the allegation was true and the woman died due to lack of food. Even a grain was not found in her house," Mishra said. The leader of the opposition said though the deceased woman had lifted the rice from PDS outlet as per the government records, there was no grain in her house. She was so weak and unable to walk. Besides, she was not getting any pension or allownaces, he said.
As the Speaker did not issue any direction to the government on the matter, Congress members rushed to well of the house shouting slogans. While some MLAs sat on the reporters table, Congress whip Taraprasad Bahinipati grabbed the Speaker's mike and attempted to climb on to the his podium. Unable to run the house, Speaker Niranjan Pujari first adjourned the house till 12 noon and then till 12.10 pm.
When the House reassembled, BJP member KV Singhdeo also requested the Spealer to give a ruling asking the government to give a statement on the issue. Alleging that the district administration has been trying to cover up the incident, Singhdeo the government should be asked to make a statement.
Bahinipati alleged that drought had forced farmers to commit suicide. Now a old woman has died of starvation because of government negligence, he said.