Starvation Death in Odisha’s Balangir Town

By Himanshu Guru: Balangir has witnessed another starvation death and this time it is inside the Municipality periphery. A woman named Annapurna has died for want of food in ward No. 15 of Balangir Municipality, which itself is the home ward of the Municipality Chairman.

Dwellers of Masjid Chowk area have complained that despite the presence of different government arrangements and guidelines to nourish the deserted class of people, the woman died of hunger.

The deceased had not been issued with any BPL, APL or PLO card and was dwelling near the Masjid in Tikra para of the town for the last three years. It is also heard that though the woman had her capable nephews in the town, they did not bother to take care of their aunt. One Imtiyaz Khan, owner of a nearby drugstore and another were nourishing the woman in charity. But for last 3 to 4 days, they were busy with their other engagements and so the woman could not get anything to eat.

Due to old age and poor health (for want of food), the woman was not evan capable of begging. Imtiyaz went to the woman with food last Saturday and found her in a wretched condition and so made arrangement to take her to the Hospital and also called for the media members.

In the hospital, Dr. Jagannath Panda examined the patient and declared her brought dead. Balangir District Congress demanded quick action against the negligence of the concerned government officials, which actually led to the death of Annapurna and set in agitation before the District Collector’s Office along with the dead body. Later, this agitation was called off.

This was not the maiden case of starvation death in the district, but earlier death of one Jhintu Bariha, followed by the death of all of his family members one after another for want of food at Chabripali in the Khaprakhol block of the district in 2009, had hit the headlines.

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