Latehar DC put on notice by minister over alleged hunger death of 65-year-old

The Jharkhand government has issued a show cause notice to Latehar deputy commissioner (DC) Rajiw Kumar over the alleged hunger death of 65-year-old Ramcharan Munda in Mahuadand block of the district on June 5. Amitabh Kaushal, secretary of the food and civil supplies department, has asked the Latehar DC and three of his juniors to explain why they did not implement the guidelines of the National Food Security Act in the district.

Munda allegedly died of hunger at the remote Lurgumi Kala village after his family and several others in the village were denied ration for three months, allegedly due to a faulty point of sale (PoS) system. The officials however, were quick to attribute Munda’s death to a heat stroke.

Jharkhand food and civil supplies minister Saryu Rai, who arrived Latehar on Saturday, had summarily rejected the preliminary inquiry report submitted by the district administration and asked the Latehar DC to initiate a fresh probe as per the protocol for conducting investigations into suspected hunger deaths.

He had also taken strong exception to the fact that the autopsy of the deceased was not conducted and opined that the body be exhumed for the same. The minister conceded that the area where the old man died belonged to the offline category and that ration should have been distributed in any case.

Also read: Denied ration for 3 months, man allegedly dies of hunger in Latehar

Speaking to HT from Ranchi, Saryu Rai said, “The Latehar DC has been asked to reply as to why he did not adhere to the guidelines of the National Food Security Act, after a two-member probe team found lapses in its implementation.”

On asked why the body of the deceased was not yet exhumed, Rai said, “This is not being done as the family has asserted that the old man died of a disease. If needed, it will certainly be done.”

A two-member team had earlier conducted a separate probe and submitted a detailed report to the government.

District supply officer Jai Prakash Jha, Mahuadand sub-divisional officer Sudhir Kumar Das and a block supply officer were also issued show cause notices.

First Published:
Jun 12, 2019 02:58 IST

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