Personal tools
You are here: Home Archives Hunger Alerts 2007 Hunger Alerts GENERAL(India): Hundreds of families deprived of all benefits of the government welfare programmes in Asanahar village in Sonbadra district of Uttar Pradesh
Navigation
 

GENERAL(India): Hundreds of families deprived of all benefits of the government welfare programmes in Asanahar village in Sonbadra district of Uttar Pradesh

Asanahar village of Pati panchayat is in Sonbadra district of Uttar Pradesh. The district though known as the 'power house' of north India lacks all basic facilities, including drinking water, electricity, telecommunication, post office or even a Public Food Distribution (PDS) shop. The district is often referred to as the 'power house' after the construction of two major power stations, the Rehand power station in the sixties and the Obra Thermal Power Station in the seventies. The construction of these two power stations within sixty kilometers of each other, literally converted the Renu River into a huge lake. As the water level increased, the villagers in several villages within the catchment area of the dams that houses the power stations had to seek higher lands to live.

HUNGER ALERT GENERAL HUNGER ALERT GENERAL HUNGER ALERT GENERAL

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Hunger Alert General

25 July 2007
---------------------------------------------------------------------
HG-001-2007: INDIA: Hundreds of families deprived of all benefits of the government welfare programmes in Asanahar village in Sonbadra district of Uttar Pradesh

INDIA: Caste based discrimination; failure of the local administration; corruption
---------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from its local partner the Grama Swaraj Samithi (GSS), a human rights organisation based in Dudhi, Sonbadra district of Uttar Pradesh that hundreds of families staying in and around Asanahar village of Pati panchayat of the district are deprived of all benefits from the government welfare programmes. It is reported that the village is cutoff from the rest of the district and that the villagers, predominantly of various the tribal communities have to walk at least 15 kilometers to reach the ration shop, post office or any other government offices. Cases of starvation and malnutrition are also reported widely from the village. It is alleged that this neglect is because of caste based discrimination meted out against remote tribal communities in the state.

CASE DETAILS:

Asanahar village of Pati panchayat is in Sonbadra district of Uttar Pradesh. The district though known as the 'power house' of north India lacks all basic facilities, including drinking water, electricity, telecommunication, post office or even a Public Food Distribution (PDS) shop. The district is often referred to as the 'power house' after the construction of two major power stations, the Rehand power station in the sixties and the Obra Thermal Power Station in the seventies. The construction of these two power stations within sixty kilometers of each other, literally converted the Renu River into a huge lake. As the water level increased, the villagers in several villages within the catchment area of the dams that houses the power stations had to seek higher lands to live.

One such village affected by the construction of these power stations is Asanahar village of Pati panchayat. The villagers though have got used to the conversion of their river to a lake, is in deteriorating state of extinction due to several causes, of the most important is the neglect by the state administration.

Asanahar is not easily accessible since it is remotely located. Though the river has been turned into a lake, there is no motorboat or any other facilities provided to the residents of the village by the state administration. This forces the villagers to walk for about 15 to 20 kilometers to reach the nearest public facility. The other option is to row a country boat for about three to four hours to the nearest village and then walk for another ten kilometers to reach the state highway.

This lack of inaccessibility coupled with complete neglect of the state administration has isolated the families living in these villages from the rest of the state and its services. In Asanahar village alone there are about 400 families. There is a Government Primary School in the village. However there are no regular classes. There are no teachers or any other instructors. There is however a 'Shikshamitru' [meaning teaching friend] posted in the school. Due to lack of supervision and responsibility, this person, an alcoholic remains drunk day and night and has continued neglecting his work ever since his appointment. He does not come to the school at all. There are about 500 school age children in the village who have no access to any kind of education facility in Asanahar. Primary education is a fundamental right in India. The total population of Asanahar is estimated to be about 1800.

According to the government scheme every village must have an Anganwadi, a childcare centre under government scheme, that provides basic care and facilities to children. Asanahar has none. Facilities like those provided by the public health department have never reached Asanahar ever. The nearest PDS shop is about 15 kilometers from the village. The villagers allege that the shop often remains closed and even when it is open the licensee sells them lesser quantity of food grains than what they are entitled for. There are some 200 families that have received ration cards which entitle them to claim ration though the PDS shop. The Block Development Office is about 45 kilometers away while the nearest post office is also some 20 kilometers away. To reach all these places the villagers have to walk.

While the children in the rest of the country received free immunisation for serious ailments like polio, the children at Asanahar were completely ignored. There are about 200 persons with a job-card that entitles them to claim job for a minimum of 100 days an year under the Jawahar Rozgar Yogna [a government scheme to provide employment in development programmes to ensure minimum employment and wages for the rural poor]. However, none of them have ever been employed by the state government for any programmes. In a similar fashion the death and birth of the villagers never get recorded by the government since the government does not care to do it.

In spite of all these remoteness, there are two set of government officials who regularly visit Asanahar. They are police constables and forest officers. They come to Asanahar to collect forced bribes. They force money out of the villagers threatening them that they would be charged for using forest produce like firewood if they failed to pay off.

While remaining cut off from the rest of the state, the residents of Asanahar also find that their source of drinking water is getting highly polluted. Industrial establishments like the Hindalco [produces aluminum], Canoria Chemicals [chemical factory] and the Carbon Black [a company by the Birla Group] flush all their industrial as well as domestic waste into the Renu River, which is now a lake. The extreme pollution, which is gradually increasing in alarming levels have polluted the water and the aquatic life is badly affected. The fish from the river turned lake was a stable source of food for the villagers, which has now decreased considerably.

Throughout the river one could see non-biodegradable debris ranging from empty plastic bottles to remains of large polymer packing cases allegedly discarded by the industrial units. It is also alleged that the housing apartments that sprung-up after the construction of the power stations and the factories also flush their domestic waste into the river which has increased the possibility of endangering the life of anyone who depend upon the untreated water from the river. The villagers also fear that if there is an outbreak of any infectious and serious disease due to the contamination of drinking water the villagers have no other option other than to wait for imminent death.

The AHRC in the recent past has reported about the alarming number of cases of Fluorosis [a clinical condition due to excess fluoride intake, damaging bones and bone joints] from these parts of Uttar Pradesh state. The cases of fluorosis were however reported from the neighboring villages comprised in Chopan, Dudhi and Myorpur blocks of Sonbadra district. For further information please see HA-001-2007.

On top of all these the villagers in Asanahar also face extreme poverty and resultant malnutrition. Though identified cases of starvation deaths are yet to be reported from Asanahar, it is very likely that in the near future villagers would die from starvation and malnourishment in Asanahar and neighboring villages. Malnutrition and poverty in Asanahar is the direct result of government neglect of this place.

As of now several villages in Pati panchayat faces similar situations. Unless immediately attended to, it is very likely that hundreds of families in Pati panchayat, particularly in Asanahar, will die due to starvation and hunger or from being infected with diseases that could have been prevented had the state administration cared about these people.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write to the authorities mentioned below expressing your concern for the villagers in Asanahar and requesting the state government to intervene.

To support this appeal, please click here:

Sample letter:

Dear __________,

INDIA: Please take immediate action to save the lives of hundreds of families in Asanahar village of Sonbadra district in Uttar Pradesh

Victims: The residents of Pati panchayat, particularly of Asanahar village in Sonbadra district of Uttar Pradesh

I am writing to you to express my concern regarding the situation of the residents in Asanahar village of Pati panchayat of Sonbadra district of Uttar Pradesh. I am concerned to know that the villagers are isolated and cutoff from the rest of the state since decades and that the benefits of the government welfare programmes are yet to reach Asanahar village.

I am informed that the nearest Public Food Distribution Shop (PDS shop) and the Post Office from the village are about 15 kilometers away and that the Block Development Office is about 45 kilometers away from the village. I am also informed that the Government Primary School does not have any teacher and that about 500 children are deprived of minimum primary education, which is their fundamental right.

I am informed that Asanahar village alone has about 400 families and the total population is about 1800. I am also informed that the only source of drinking water and a source of food by way of fishing, the Renu River, is getting alarmingly polluted by the indiscriminate disposal of industrial and domestic waste. I am also informed that the Public Food Distribution Shop which is located 15 kilometers away does not open regularly and that the licensee cheats the villagers by not selling the villagers adequate food grains that they are entitled for. I am also informed that in Asanahar alone there are about 200 persons holding a job card, but never received any employment by the state.

I therefore urge you to immediately intervene in this case and take appropriate steps so that:

1. the Government Primary School in Asanahar functions properly and adequate numbers of teachers are appointed in the school;

2. a post office and a PDS shop is opened in the village so that the villagers have easy access to the facilities of these government services;

3. the indiscriminate pollution to the Renu River is studied and checked to ensure that the river is no more polluted and steps initiated to reduce the effect of the past pollution, and;

4. the officials of the state government health services regularly visit Asanahar and neighboring villages so that all necessary and primary health care of the villagers are met.

Yours sincerely,

----------------------

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTER TO:

1. Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss
Minister of Health & Family Welfare
Government of India
Nirman Bhavan,
New Delhi 110 011
INDIA
Tel: +91 11 2306 1647, 2306 1751, 2306 1661
E-mail: hfm@alpha.nic.in

2. Ms. Mayawati
Chief Minister
Chief Minister's Secretariat
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
INDIA
Fax: + 91 522 - 2230002/2239234
Email: mayawati@sansad.nic.in

3. National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
Government of India
5th Floor, Loknayak Bhawan
Khan Market
New Delhi 110003
INDIA
Fax: + 91 11 2462 5378

4. Mr. Jean Zeigler
UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
Room 4-066, OHCHR, Palais Wilson
Rue des Paquis 52, Geneva
SWITZERLAND
Fax: +41 22 9179010

5. Dr. S.J. Habayeb
WHO Representative
Office of the WHO Representative to India
Rooms 533-535, 'A' Wing
Nirman Bhawan, Maulana Azad Road
New Delhi, 110011
INDIA
FAX: +91 11 2301 2450
E-mail: wrindia@whoindia.org

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrchk.org)

Document Actions