Family says elderly woman dies of starvation in Jharkhand’s Giridih, govt orders probe
Five people have allegedly died of hunger in different parts Jharkhand since September 5, but the administration has denied the charges of starvation deaths in all the cases.
A 65-year-old woman allegedly died after going without food for three days in Mangargaddi village under Dumri block, around 38 km away from district headquarters of Giridih, prompting chief minister Raghubar Das to order the district administration on Monday to probe the death.
Savitri Devi died on Saturday and was cremated on Sunday. District administration officials, however, said initial investigations have revealed the woman was suffering from paralysis.
Since September 5 last year, five people have allegedly died of hunger in different parts of the state but the administration has denied the charges of starvation deaths in all the cases. Food and civil supply minister Saryu Roy had also formed a high-powered committee to probe the reasons behind these deaths. The committee is yet to submit its report.
Savitri’s family members claimed that she had eaten nothing for 72 hours before she succumbed to starvation on Saturday. The earthen stove in the house was not used since May 30 and the family of seven, including Savitri’s two daughters-in-law and four grandchildren, have been without food.
Deputy development commissioner (DDC) who is officiating as deputy commissioner (DC) of Giridih, Mukund Das, denied the starvation theory and said investigation is under progress.
“Initial findings say the woman was suffering from paralysis and she could have succumbed due to it. A team of senior officers has been sent to the village to conduct a detailed inquiry,” he added.
Two the deceased’s sons work outside the state. One of them, Bhusabal, works on a transmission line project in Maharashtra, and Hulas, who has been working with a private firm in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh for the past six months.
Hulas said the family was in bad financial condition as he was not able to earn enough to send anything back home. “I could not send a single penny to my house for last six months,” he added.
Ram Prasad Mahto, the Mukhiya of Chainpur Panchayat, under which Magangaddi village is located under, said the deceased neither had a ration card nor an old age pension facility.
“Though she had applied a few years ago officials rejected her case that without any reason,” he told reporters.
Local MLA of Dumri Jagarnath Mahto of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) who rushed to spot after the report, held the state government responsible for the tragedy.
“All conditions and circumstances in her house suggested that Savitri Devi had died because of starvation. She was not getting any facility under government schemes,” he charged.