Right to Food Campaign, Odisha
Plot No- 393/2035, 2nd Floor, Padmavati Vihar, Post- Sailashree Vihar, Bhubaneswar, Odisha
Ref. No- RTF/ 70/15 Date 10.10.15
National Human Rights Commission
Manav Adhikar Bhawan
GPO Complex, INA, New Delhi-110023
Sub- Complaint on “Starvation death of an old man in Bhubaneswar under Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, capital of Odisha due to negligence of State Administration.
I Sri Pradip Pradhan, State Convener, Right to Food Campaign, Odisha bring to the kind notice of the commission the following matter seeking for immediate intervention and necessary action.
That on 9.10.15, news under caption “Starvation Death of an Old Man in Bhubaneswar has been published in the Sambad, daily newspaper. An old man was found died under a tree on roadside connecting from Vanivihar to Master Canteen of Bhubaneswar. The petitioner had visited the spot and enquired about it.
On 8th October, 2015, the pedestrians came across an old man lying along the roadside of Bhubaneswar town. After an enquiry, it was found the old man dead. The old man was begging in the street to feed his hungry belly. Few days back, he suffered from disease and could not move and fell under a tree. Finding no food, he died of hunger. The police took up the dead body and sent for post-mortem.
Right to life is the fundamental right of the citizen under Indian constitution. The State Govt. is duty-bound to protect their life. Keeping it in view, the Central Govt. and State Govt. have undertaken numerous food security programme to ensure food security of the poor, destitute and vulnerable families. The starvation death of an old man is due to callous and indifferent attitude of the state Govt. In 2010, hearing Writ Petition Case No. 196/2001, the Supreme Court have expressed grave concern at the plight of urban destitute and given direction to all State Govt. to provide night shelter to the homeless, destitute people of urban areas and to take steps for their rehabilitation. Though five years passed, the state has been able to open only two night shelter in Bhubaneswar. These two night shelters are inaccessable and badly managed for which the homeless people are see not going to stay there. Night shelters are yet to be constructed in other urban areas like Cuttak, Puri and Rourkela which has been exposed through RTI. Secondly, the State Govt. has not undertaken any survey to identify the beggar, homeless, nomads and destitute in urban areas. The Government does not have statistics about total number of Homeless and destitute persons in different urban areas. Thirdly, since last one year, the State Government has been undertaking survey to identify the eligible household in order to provide foodgrains under National Food Security Act, 2013. But it was found through our survey that the destitute, homeless and nomads have not been covered under the survey made under the said Act. So, in spite of multiple programme being implemented to ensure food security of the poor in Odisha, it has not reached to the destitute and homeless who are found more vulnerable and succumbed to hunger and malnutrition leading to suffering from disease and death. There is also no mechanism of the State Govt. to monitor the situation of the homeless and destitute in urban areas. In the absence of institutional mechanism for their protection, they continue to suffer and survive at the mercy of god.
In this Context, I request the Commission to make an inquiry into the matter and issue the following direction to the State Govt. in order to ensure food security and effective rehabilitation of these extreme vulnerable people of urban areas in Odisha.
A. Issue direction to State Government to make an enquiry into details of causes leading to suffering and death of an old man in Bhubaneswar.
B. Issue direction to the State Govt. to undertake survey to identify the homeless, beggar, and destitute and prepare their list and include them as eligible household under National Food Security Act.
C. Issue direction to the State Govt. put in place the robust institutional mechanism to monitor the condition of Homeless, destitute, mobile health team to provide treatment to them and a Telephone Number for information to be made by public about the plight of the destitute.
D. Issue direction, as the commission deems fit to ensure complete food security to all the vulnerable families in urban areas..
(Original post to NHRC contains news clippings)