NHRC asks state to reply on food security in KBK region

Bhubaneswar: Expressing `concern` about the `food security` of poor people in poverty-stricken KBK (Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput) region, National Human Rights Commission on Wednesday directed the Orissa government to present status of its recommendation on implementation of welfare schemes in the area.

"The state government has been directed to depute an officer to be present before the commission on March 21, 2011 giving status on the implementation of recommendations of the commission," NHRC Chairperson Justice K G Balakrishnan said after completion of the two-day camp here.

Stating that the NHRC aimed to wipe out the cause of alleged starvation deaths, malnutrition and other problems faced by people in the KBK region, Balakrishnan said the commission wanted to know about the status of its recommendations on different welfare schemes including public distribution system, health, and special security schemes in the area.

"The commission has also directed the state government to effectively co-ordinate and implement various schemes for the KBK districts," he said.

Worried over no substantial development in the KBK region despite implementation of different welfare measures, the commission held a separate session to discuss issues relating to the area.

Issues of poverty, unemployment, deprivation, hunger, starvation and malnutrition in the KBK region were discussed in the presence of senior state government officials, NHRC member Satyabrata Pal said.

While rejecting the state government`s claim that no one died of of starvation in KBK region, the commission observed that though none was directly a victim of hunger, the prevailing situation may lead a person to that fate.

It came to the observation while disposing a case relating to the alleged starvation death if 12 children in Nabarangpur and Balangir districts.

As most of the people died of anemia or malnutrition, this could be due to prolong poverty in the region, the commission observed adding that people might be facing shortage of food.

"The state government has also been directed to send detailed report on the issue of bogus ration cards, particularly in the KBK region," Justice Balakrishnan said adding that action taken by the state government against the corrupt officials would also be informed to the commission.

}