An Open Appeal to all concerned to help deprived people file complaint directly to State Food Commission in respect of denial of Ration Card to eligible Households under National Food Security Act
All of you are aware that National Food Security Act, 1913 has the mandate to provide food and nutritional security in human life cycle approach by ensuring access to adequate quantity of quality food at affordable price to all the people to live with dignity. As per section 10 of the Act, each State Govt. is required to carry out exercise to identify the eligible Household termed as priority households and the beneficiaries to be covered under Antodaya Anna Yojana within one year ( by July 2014) of the implementation of NFSA.
In fact, in 2014 Govt. of Odisha started exercise to identify eligible Household (HH) and beneficiaries to be covered under Antodaya Anna Yojana and took one year to complete the survey and prepare the list of Priority Households and beneficiaries under AAY. The whole process completed by October 2015. But during that time it was found that thousands of poor people, tribals, dalits have been deprived to get ration card due to corruption, favouritism, nepotism. Thousands of rich people got succeeded to get the ration card by manipulating the procedure and influencing the officials or unholy alliance with the officials. However after hue and cry and rasta roko and gherao organised by political parties and Civil Society Groups in different places in protest against exclusion of the poor in the list of eligible HHs, the State Govt. made a request to file complaint in the block office which will be enquired by BDO and action to be taken accordingly.
Thousands of complaints were filed in the block office to get the ration card. But their complaints were neither heard nor enquired. Rather it found gathering dust in the block office.
In January, 2016, when the State Govt. designated State Information Commission as State Food Commission to receive complaints from the people, Right to Food Campaign, Odisha and other Civil Society Groups filed 5000 complaints to State Information Commission about denial of ration card to them. But these complaints were simply stored in the office of State Information Commission for months together due to lack of resources and staff shortage. Keeping it in view, demonstration was organised in Bhubaneswar demanding constitution of independent State Food Commission. Then, being pressurised, the State Govt. constituted State Food Commission in June 2016 with appointment of Chairman and two members.
In the last month, I had the opportunity to meet the whole body of State Food Commission for discussion about my complaint on child death issue in Malkangiri. During discussion, I appraised the Commission about pendency of 5000 complaint cases for ration card. The Commission assured me to take steps in this regard. Now, State Food Commission has started issuing order to concerned authorities to enquire into the complaints and take action accordingly. It has come to my notice from grass-root level that enquiry has started and many people have got the card.
So, I appeal all the Activists and the organisations working for the poor to organise the people and help them write complaints ad file it to the Chairman, State Food Commission, Toshali Bhawan, Satya Nagar, Bhubaneswar-751007. The complaint shall be written in plain paper and in Odia. It should be hand-written. Thousands of complaints should be filed to Commission with appeal to provide ration card within 7 days.
If the poor people could not get justice within a stipulated time period, the Civil Society Groups will steer public action at state and district level to enforce the right and entitlement of the people as mandated under NFSA.
Right to Food Campaign, Odisha