A special rapporteur of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) started an inquiry on Tuesday into the deaths due to hunger and malnutrition in Balangir district, Orissa.
Special Rapporteur Damodar Sarangi will do the inquiry for four days starting Tuesday. He said that he would meet the affected families in the district.
The word ‘rapporteur’ is French in origin, meaning a person appointed by an organisation to probe a certain matter.
“I will submit the enquiry report to the NHRC,” he said.
Balangir is about 340 km west of Bhubaneswar.
On February 24, Hindustan Times had reported that 50 people of the age of 45 and below had died in Balangir district of chronic hunger and malnutrition in the past two years.
Taking cognizance of the report, the NHRC had issued a notice to the Orissa chief secretary, T N Mishra, calling for his report in four weeks.
Sarangi reached Balangir on Monday and held a discussion with district officials to ascertain how five members of a family died last year. He enquired about the public distribution system, health facilities, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and how central government funds were utilised, a district official said.
On Tuesday, Sarangi visited Chabripali village, where Jhintu Bariha, his wife, a three-year-old son, a one-year-old daughter, and mother died in September and October last year due to chronic hunger.
He met Jhintu Bariha’s nine-year-old son, Ram Prasad Bariha, who is staying with a voluntary organisation called Vishwaneedam.