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Jharkhand CM turns ‘delivery boy’ for Food Post scheme

Jharkhand chief minister Raghubar Das acts as a delivery boy when he reached at the door steps of people to distribute 35-kg packet of rice under the food post scheme

ranchi Updated: Apr 22, 2017 14:01 IST
Sanjoy Dey
Sanjoy Dey
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
Jharkhand,CM,Food Post
Chief minister Raghubar Das at the launch function of the food scheme at Littipara block of Pakur district (HT Photo)

Sundarin Paharin, 25, could not believe her eyes when she saw Jharkhand chief minister Raghubar Das reaching her home as a delivery boy with a 35-kg packet of rice on Thursday afternoon. She was bemused when the chief minister asked her for a glass of water after delivering the rice packet to her.

Paharin was the first beneficiary of the state government’s recently launched Food Post scheme for Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in her Surajbera village in Pakur district’s Littipara block, around 400 km from Jharkhand capital Ranchi.

Das, who was in Santhal Pargana on Thursday to launch government schemes worth Rs 280.67 crore, kicked off the scheme at the village by delivering the food packet at her doorstep. The CM told her that she would receive such packet every month at her doorstep and her family would not have to make rounds of dealers and the block.

“Over 24,000 families of Pahariya tribe of Santhal Paragana will be linked to the scheme soon,” Das told the villagers.

The Jharkhand government on April 3 started its ambitious food post scheme to provide food at the doorsteps of 70,000 vulnerable tribal families of the state, which are enrolled under the National Food Security Act (NFSA)

The scheme is the first-of-its-kind in India, and through this, the state government seeks to provide food to PVTG families with the help of special messengers, who will deliver food packets to these tribal households.

NFSA was launched in Jharkhand on September 25, 2015 and covers more than 2.63 crore people out of the state’s 3.29 crore population. Under the scheme, PVTGs are entitled to 35 kg of free ration per month.

PVTGs live in jungles and hills because of which they have not been able to reap benefits of NFSA.

Sundarin Paharin said: “We have to walk around 12 km to reach the block headquarters for free ration. At times, we have to return emptyhanded. The scheme will save our time and money.”

As per a survey conducted in villages with PVTG population, families of the Soriya Paharaiya, an endangered PVTG, have to spend up to Rs 300 to access their free ration in blocks.

“As per the Supreme Court order dated November 28, 2001, ration distribution should be available free of cost every month to all PVTG families at a nearest point. Unfortunately, the so-called nearest points for many of the PVTGs means travelling up to 50-60 km,” said Balram, a Right to Food activist, who had carried out the survey.

The government has set a target to cover all districts of Jharkhand under the drive by the end of April.

First Published: Apr 22, 2017 14:01 IST