मंगलवार, 13 दिसंबर 2016

Appeal to file complaint to State Food Commission on Ration Card issue

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.

Pradip Pradhan
State Convener
Right to Food Campaign, Odisha

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