Personal tools
You are here: Home Archives Hunger Alerts 2007 Hunger Alerts INDIA: Deaths from starvation imminent in Alhadadpur village in Amebdkar Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh
Navigation
 

INDIA: Deaths from starvation imminent in Alhadadpur village in Amebdkar Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh

According to the information received, several families in Alhadapur village were engaged in the weaving industry. However owing to the influx of cheap alternatives from outside the country and various other factors like poor management of the industry by the private entrepreneurs and lack of government support, the weaving industry in Uttar Pradesh deteriorated. This terminated the source of income of several thousand families in the state. Most of these families are staying in villages and Alhadapur is one such village.

HUNGER ALERT HUNGER ALERT HUNGER ALERT HUNGER ALERT

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – HUNGER ALERT PROGRAMME

Hunger Alert

13 April 2007
-------------------------------------
HA-005-2007: INDIA: Deaths from starvation imminent in Alhadadpur village in Amebdkar Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh

INDIA: Corruption; administrative failure; right to food; failure of rule of law
-------------------------------------

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from its local partner the PVCHR, a human rights organisation in Uttar Pradesh state, that several families in Alhadapur village in Amedkar Nagar district are facing acute food shortage. It is reported that the food shortage is due to the failure of the administration to address corrupt practices in the food distribution for the village. Members of at least two families in the village are on the verge of death from starvation.

CASE DETAILS:

According to the information received, several families in Alhadapur village were engaged in the weaving industry. However owing to the influx of cheap alternatives from outside the country and various other factors like poor management of the industry by the private entrepreneurs and lack of government support, the weaving industry in Uttar Pradesh deteriorated. This terminated the source of income of several thousand families in the state. Most of these families are staying in villages and Alhadapur is one such village.

Many persons who found it difficult to manage a daily meal for the family resorted to various other jobs, like Mr. Laxmi Chandra Jaiswal, the father of 5-year-old Juli and the husband of Mina Devi. Jaiswal opened a small shop in his village where he sold cigarettes and betel leafs. However Jaiswal fell ill in 2006 and he had to sell his shop and borrow money for his treatment. This upset the family income to a stage where Jaiswal could not anymore find means to feed his family.

Juli is 5 years old and is malnourished. When the PVCHR came to know about the situation of the family and several of their neighbours the activists attached to the PVCHR took Juli to a pediatrician Dr. R. K. Singh at the local Primary Health Centre. The doctor diagnosed that Juli is suffering from malnourishment. Juli is only 7 kilogram in weight, while children of her age and height should ideally weigh around 18 kilogram. Juli is suffering from Grade IV malnourishment according to Dr. R. K. Singh of the Primary Health Centre and Dr. Lenin of the PVCHR.

Mina Devi said that her daughter is suffering from malnourishment for a year as the family could not afford to feed her. Mina Devi, though is working as a maid servant in a nearby house, she is given left over food as her wages, which often might be one or two roti . Juli is not attending any school since the family could not afford it. The family does not receive the benefits of any schemes by the government for distribution of free food grains. On inquiry it was revealed that village head is not interested in issuing certificates to the poor families in the village so that he could sell the food grains supplied by the government in black market. The local Anganwadi remains closed and have done nothing so far to conduct a study of the health condition of the children in the village. The Jaiswal family does not have any land other than their small hut. Jaiswal and other families have filed petitions with the district administration several times requesting for help and to include them as those who require assistance for food. However it is reported that owing to wide corruption at the district administration office the petitions were turned down or not attended to.

In addition to the Jaiswal family, Mr. Shri Ram Lakhan Kanauja also is living in similar conditions. He is 65 years old and does not have a job and is on the verge of death. Similar is the condition of Mr. Abdul Haq and his wife Sazida who are both blind. Haq is also 65 years old and unemployed. He and his wife are suffering from malnourishment and have received no help from the district administration thus far. It is reported that there are several such families suffering from similar or worse conditions, and in the absence of immediate help from the district administration many people may die from acute starvation or malnourishment induced by starvation.

As of now the PVCHR is helping these families in the village including medicine and food. According to the latest information received Mina Devi is also admitted in the local government hospital since she was suffering from malnourishment and associated illness.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

The state or central governments in India cannot justify starvation deaths and malnourishment in India. The country is rich in food grains and has a surplus food stock in its granaries. The central government of India has a distribution arrangement so that the food grains are distributed according to the requirement of various state governments. At the state level, the governments have a licensing scheme to distribute food grains, particularly for the poor sections of the society. Through this scheme the food grains are distributed either free of cost or at subsidised rates or through some other schemes like food for work programme.

To assess the scheme through which the grains are to be distributed and to decide to whom the grains should be given free of cost or at subsidised rates, the state government authorise various local administration including the district and block level administration to conduct periodical surveys and recommend to the government the list of persons or families that require assistance. Those families that require assistance are given ration cards, identified by different colours depending upon the family's financial status. The food grains are then distributed through licensed ‘ration shops' which are located in almost every village in the country.

The ration shops are the distribution points for food grains. The shops are licensed to individuals or co-operatives under the Rationing Order, which is a law under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955. The government by periodical declarations declares select commodities as ‘essential commodities'. A wide variety of food grains are included as essential commodities under this Act and any illegal dealing with articles that are to be distributed through the ration shops as essential commodities is an offense in law punishable with imprisonment for a period of seven years and fine. However there is a wide network of deep-rooted corruption going on in this distribution cycle.

The people who are assessed as those eligible for obtaining food grains at subsidised rates or for free never get their ration cards from the local administration. The officials at the local administration connive with corrupt licensees of ration shops and gather information regarding families, obtain cards and get their quota of grains and articles like cooking oil, sugar and kerosene from the government and sell these articles in the black market. This chain of corruption is so widespread and deep that it includes some of the senior officers in the government to ration shop licensees in the villages.

Any complaint regarding corruption in the system is to be recorded as a crime by the local police and is to be investigated by them. However owing to the failure in policing in India, the culprits never get booked or charged with a crime. In addition to corruption, illiteracy and social ostracism of select communities on the basis of caste and religion also deprive the poor and needy from benefiting from the government schemes. In the result the schemes only exist in paper while the poor starve to death and complaints are never recorded.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write letters to the concerned authorities listed below and urge them to immediately intervene in the situation. Please write to the District Magistrate of Amedkar Nagar in particular so that immediate attention is brought into the case and the families requiring urgent help are attended to by the district administration.

To support this appeal, please click:

Sample letter:

Mr. Ajay Kumar Upadhyaya
The District Magistrate
Ambedkar Nagar
Uttar Pradesh state
INDIA
Fax: + 91 5271 244107
Mobile: + 91 9839066772
Email: dmamb@up.nic.in

Dear Mr. Ajay Kumar Upadhyaya,

INDIA: Deaths from starvation imminent in Alhadadpur village in Amebdkar Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh

Name and address of the victims:
1. Juli, aged 5, daughter of Mr. Laxmi Chandra Jaiswal, residing at Alhadapur village, Ambedkar Nagar, Uttar Pradesh state, India
2. Mr. Laxmi Chandra Jaiswal, residing at Alhadapur village
3. Ms. Mina Devi, wife of Mr. Laxmi Chandra Jaiswal, residing at Alhadapur village
4. Mr. Sri Ram Lakhan Kanaujia, aged 65, residing at Alhadapur village
5. Mr. Abdul Haq, aged 65, residing at Alhadapur village
6. Ms. Sazida, wife of Mr. Abdul Haq, residing at Alhadapur village
and several families residing at Alhadapur village, Ambedkar Nagar, Uttar Pradesh state
Place of incident: Alhadapur village, Ambedkar Nagar, Uttar Pradesh state

I am writing to you to express my concern for the persons named above and also other villagers residing at Alhadapur in Ambedkar Nagar within your jurisdiction. I am informed that several families in the village are suffering from acute food shortage and malnourishment resulting from long periods of starvation.

I am informed that Juli, a girl aged 5 years, daughter of Mr. Laxmi Chandra Jaiswal, and a resident of the village, is suffering from Grade IV malnourishment and that she requires immediate medical attention. I am also informed that Juli's mother Ms. Mina Devi and their neighbours Mr. Sri Ram Lakhan Kanaujia, Mr. Abdul Haq and his wife Ms. Sazida are also facing similar situation of acute shortage from food. I am informed that Mina Devi is currently admitted in the local government hospital for treatment for malnourishment. I am aware that a human rights organisation based in Uttar Pradesh, the PVCHR is currently providing help these families and several others in the village.

I am aware that your office is responsible for the food security of the people within your district and that there are serious allegations regarding the functioning of the ration shop of the locality. I am also informed that the Anganvadi in the village has failed to provide any help to the children in the village.

I am worried about the fate of the people in Alhadapur village, particularly those who are finding it hard to get a meal once a day. I therefore urge you to take immediate steps through your office to ensure the following:

- that those facing acute starvation and malnourishment in Alhadapur village are immediately provided medical help and food
- mobilise the office of the District Medical Officer, Ambedkar Nagar to immediately visit the village and conduct a mapping of malnourishment and other health problems in the village
- order an inquiry into the functioning of the Anganvadi in the village and make sure that the Anganvadi functions properly
- that the ration shop in the locality is open every day and that no rationed articles are sold off in the black market but distributed among the poor
- that an immediate survey is conducted in the village to find out which families in the village require subsidised or free food distribution
- that ration cards are issued to all families residing in the village according to their financial status and that the ration cards are issued within 30 days
- and with the help of the PVCHR to make sure that no families will suffer from food shortage in the meanwhile

I trust that you will immediately take an action in this case.

Yours sincerely,

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


PLEASE SEND A COPY OF YOUR LETTER TO:

1. Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav
Chief Minister
Chief Minister's Secretariat
Lucknow,
Uttar Pradesh
INDIA
Fax: + 91-522-2230002/2239234
Email: csup@up.nic.in

2. Justice A.P. Mishra
Chairperson
Uttar Pradesh Human Rights Commission
6-A Kalidass Marg
Lucknow,
Uttar Pradesh
INDIA
Fax: + 91 52 2272 6743
Email: uphrc@sancharnet.net

3. Mr. Harsh Mander,
Special Commissioner,
Samya – Centre for Equity Studies
Secretariat of the Commissioners
R –38A, South Extension – II
New Delhi – 110049
INDIA
Tele Fax: 91-11-51642147
Email: commissioners@vsnl.net

4. The Secretariat
The Right to Food Campaign – India
Q - 21-B, Top Floor, Jungpura Extn.
New Delhi – 110014
INDIA
Email: righttofood@gmail.com 

5. Ms. Mayawati
Member of Parliament
13-A, Mall Avenue, Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh
INDIA
Email: mayawati@sansad.nic.in


Thank you.

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

Document Actions