Relief for Kashipur spills through 'lacuna' in system

Sampad Mahapatra

Wednesday, September 5, 2001 (Kashipur): Little has changed for the people of Kashipur Block in Orissa's Raygada district. The administration, which had been severely criticized for not delivering food to hundreds of people starving, has now finally admitted that food has not reached everybody.

In fact the food-for-work programme promised by the government has still not taken off and a majority of people below the poverty line still have no access to subsidized rice. Whatever little relief that is reaching the people of Kashipur is evidently not coming from the government.

Dilip Kalia, a businessman in Delhi has provided 1,314 below the poverty line cardholders with 210 quintals of free rice. "I had seen the news about starvation here and I was not sure when the government would finally take some steps. So I thought of providing some immediate relief," said Kalia.

In the surrounding villages, people accuse the government of being biased in distributing rice at subsidized rates to people below the poverty line (BPL). "Only those close to the MLAs, ministers and influential people get BPL cards. But the real poor people never get that facility," alleged Saunta, a relief volunteer of PSSP.

Over 65 per cent of the population in Kashipur is tribal, a majority of them are landless but officially a little over 15 per cent of the families are covered under the BPL rice supply scheme.

Now the administration concedes there are people who have been left out.

"There could be some people on the hill-tops and they would not come down. The people's representative and the officers could have forgotten them. So some people could still be left out of the system because of the lacuna in the system," admitted BP Sethi, the Collector of Rayagada.

These are however loopholes that are costing people starving in these districts their lives.

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Referred by:Benjamin P Kaila
Published on:6 Sep, 2001
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