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BJP MLA reports Uttarakhand’s ‘first starvation death’, govt begins fire fight

Dwarahat MLA Mahesh Negi wrote a letter to CM claiming that a 17-year-old girl in a remote village in his constituency has died of starvation.

dehradun Updated: Apr 17, 2017 20:48 IST
Anupam Trivedi
Anupam Trivedi
Hindustan Times
starvation death,dwarahat,TS Rawat
Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat Monday asked the local MLA and officials from Almora district to visit the village and extend help to the family.(PTI)

DEHRADUN: The month-old Trivendra Singh Rawat has found itself in a quandary after party legislator from Dwarahat, Mahesh Negi, claimed that a teenager girl from a remote village in his constituency died of starvation. Negi made the claim in a letter to chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat.

Taking the contents of the letter seriously, the CM, who returned from the BJP national executive meet Monday, asked the MLA and officials from Almora district to visit the village and extend help to the family.

If proven true, this would be first starvation death reported in the hill state.

Earlier, on Sunday night, Negi uploaded a copy of the letter on his Facebook page. In the letter, he said that a 17-year-old girl from the remote Khajurani village in his constituency died on April 15 owing to starvation. He further wrote that there are six members in the victim’s family and they need immediate help. He said it was a matter of shame that people were still dying of starvation.

“I had earlier written letter to the officials citing the abysmally poor condition of the family but none took notice. Now that I am the legislator, therefore officials are listening to me. Timely help to the family could have saved the girl,” Negi told HT over phone.

He led a team of officials, including sub divisional magistrate, to the village situated 12 kms away from the road head.

The officials would submit a detailed report to the district magistrate of Almora. The head of the family, an ex Army jawan had died earlier leaving behind six members, including wife and children. The MLA said though the family was getting pension but it was not enough to support six members. Moreover three children in the family are mentally challenged.

“CM has instructed me to find out if some other families in the region are also facing similar (financial) problems,” Negi added.

Minister of state Rekha Arya, who hails from the Almora district, said she was unaware if the death was due to starvation. “Starvation deaths are something unheard of in Uttarakhand,” she added.

The opposition Congress and social activists, meanwhile, took a dig at the government. Congress also sent a group of leaders to the village and handed over ₹21,000 to the family.

“Starvation death is the blot on the face of Uttarakhand. Definitely there is something wrong with the governance,” Congress president Kishore Upadhyay said.

Social activist Ratan Aswal however said there shouldn’t be any politics on starvation death. He also demanded extensive probe on the public distribution system. “We have repeatedly said that the real beneficiaries are not covered under PDS shops. There is a huge racket and that needs to be probed,” Aswal said.

First Published: Apr 17, 2017 20:48 IST