Giridih, Jharkhand: 58-year-old Savitri Devi had nothing to eat for three days, reportedly because she didn't have a ration card that helps the poorest access cheaper food. She allegedly starved to death on Sunday at Giridih in Jharkhand.
"Due to the negligence of authorities, her ration card could not be made, which is why she was unable to get food," a district official Sheetal Prasad told news agency ANI.
Savitri Devi's daughter-in-law Saraswati Devi said even after repeated requests for a ration card no one in the administration bothered. "She had no food since last three days...it became worse because we could not contact her," said Saraswati Devi.
Her two sons somehow manage to earn their living doing odd jobs and they often had to beg for food from villagers said neighbours. It is not clear how old Savitri Devi's sons are or if they lived with her.
On hearing of an alleged starvation death in his constituency, the lawmaker representing Dumri, Jagarnath Mahto said that the "matter was of great concern." Mr Mahato blamed negligence of officials but did not specify what action will be taken against officers who deprived Savitri Devi of a ration card. The lawmaker said the issue would be raised in the state assembly.
Around six months ago, in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, Shakina Ashfaq, a resident of Bareilly died allegedly due to starvation. The 50-year-old woman had not eaten for five days. Her family was allegedly denied of their monthly quota of cheaper food-grain because Shakina, who was paralysed, could not be present at the ration shop for her fingerprint authentication for Aadhaar.
The Yogi Adityanath government had said initial inquiries suggested Shakina died of an illness, not starvation. Shakina was a cardholder of the Antodaya Anna Yojana, a scheme for the poorest of the poor.
After Shakina's death, the Union food ministry in a statement had said the Centre was fully aware of challenges in the transition to the point of sale-based Aadhaar authentication system in the public distribution system. The states have been asked not to deny ration to the poor, the centre had said.
(With inputs from ANI)