Starvation deaths continue despite FCI godowns overflowing with food grains

New Delhi, May 9: Taking note of starvation deaths in the country despite godowns of Food Corporation of India (FCI) overflowing with food grains, the Supreme Court on Wednesday sought response of the Centre and six states to the allegation that deaths occurred due to flagrant violation of the famine code formulated in 1962.

On a PIL filed by People's Union for Civil Liberties on the issue, a three-judge bench issued notices to the Centre and Governments of Orissa, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, Maharshtra, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and FCI asking them to file their replies by July 23, the next date of hearing.

Arguing for the petitioner, counsel Colin Gonsalves and Aparna Bhat contended that it was tragic that though over 50 million tonnes of food grains, as against required buffer stock of 17 million tonnes, are lying in various godowns of FCI across the country, the non-enforcement of famine code has resulted in starvation deaths.

The petitioner has raised three basic questions before the court relating to the right to food. "Does the right to life mean that people who are starving and who are too poor to buy food grains ought to be given food grains free of cost by the state from the surplus stock lying with the state particularly when it is reported that a large part of it is lying unused and rotting," it asked. (PTI)

Referred by: Mukundan CM
Published on: May 9, 2001
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