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13 starvation deaths in West Bengal

There have been 13 starvation deaths in West Bengal since May 2011 after the Trinamool Congress government came to power, said a network of non-government organisations (NGOs) and trade unions here on 29 September alleging that the public distribution system in the State is fraught with irregularities.

“Since May 2011, 13 starvation deaths have been reported which indicates that there is no food security and the rationing system here is in a mess,” said Anuradha Talwar, civil rights activist and adviser to the Supreme Court on public distribution system.

The deaths have been reported in closed tea gardens of Jalpiaguri district and in certain backward regions of Purulia and Paschim Medinipur district affected by Maoist activities, she said.

 “The deaths have occurred in areas which have a history of chronic hunger and where such instances have been reported earlier in past. Along with poor public distribution system, the people also did not get jobs under the 100 days’ employment scheme,” she said.

She said there is enough evidence that the deaths have occurred because of starvation and in certain cases the death certificates of the victims also establish the fact.  Some of the deceased were elderly persons who did not get the benefit of old age pension scheme, Ms Talwar said.     

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 November 2012 on page no. 3

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