- HT, Allahabad
A 28-year-old jobless Dalit man, identified as Dharmendra, allegedly died of hunger in a village of Uttar Pradesh’s Allahabad district on Sunday morning, while his wife too was found fighting for life without a morsel of food in their home.
The district administration instructed action against local officials and the owner of the fair price shop, which provides government subsidised food to the poor.
Sub-divisional magistrate Brajendra Dwivedi said Dharmendra died of jaundice that he was suffering for some time.
But tehsildar Ramkumar Verma, who inspected the couple’s home at Dharauta village under Soraon tehsil, after the news of the death, reported that he couldn’t find any food in the decrepit house in which the man and his differently-abled wife, Usha Devi, lived.
He gave Rs 1,000 to the family as immediate relief.
Dharmendra, a local dancer at rural functions, did not possess an Aadhaar card, which is required to get another card for free and subsidized ration to people living below the poverty line. In the absence of BPL and ration cards, he was not able to get food grain from the fair price shop.
Dharmendra and Usha Devi were married for eight years, but the couple was childless.
He had some agricultural land registered in his name, Dwivedi said.
It is reported that the family survived on the food provided by villagers. But of late, people have stopped giving them alms, plunging the couple into hunger. Dharmendra succumbed on Sunday morning.
Villagers collected money to perform his last rites.
Hunger deaths are rife in the Indian countryside despite the government running several schemes, especially a food subsidy programme that guarantees cut-price rice and wheat to 63.5% of the population.
But shoddy management of food stocks and corrupt practices have choked the flow of food to those who need it the most.