Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Rajnagar, Oct 19:
Faulty surveys by lackadaisical government employees and its results can at times result in death of the subject surveyed.
One such example is the death of 65-year-old Bishnu Charan Das of Gopapatna village under Ostia panchayat of Rajnagar block in Odisha’s Kendrapara district on Sunday.
Bishnu Charan, a victim of faulty survey by government officials for implementation of National Food Security Act, passed away early on Sunday morning as he was under severe stress after finding his name struck off from the list of beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
Deceased Bishnu Charan’s family used to survive on subsidized rice provided to BPL families, his old age pension and the disability allowance of his son.
With his name struck off from the list of beneficiaries under NFSA, Bishnu Charan was a worried man pondering over how to run his family with no ration card and no subsidized rice to keep his hearth warm.
Bishnu Charan’s family comprised of his elder son Bimal, a disabled person; his younger son Nirmal- unemployed; wife Vaidehi and elder daughter-in-law. Two thatched huts and not even a gunth of land is all that he possessed.
It was on October 16 that Bishnu Charan came to know that his name did not figure in the new list of beneficiaries to get a ration card under the NFSA. The fact that no longer he will get the Re 1/a kilo rice to feed his family, the grim scenario of his family perishing in hunger put him under unbearable mental stress.
Accompanied by his disabled son Bishnu Charan met everyone who mattered– from the gram sevak of the panchayat to the BDO– to explain his plight but to no avail. He was told that his name has figured in the ‘suspect list’ and nothing can be done.
Crestfallen, he breathed his last with his hands raised at the time of his death, said his disabled son Bimal which was echoed by other fellow villagers.
Villagers have demanded assistance for the helpless family while seeking exemplary stringent action against those government employees who had prepared the faulty list.
The government officials without going for a survey prepared the list of beneficiaries sitting at block and panchayat offices, alleged villagers. In the process they had muddled thatched huts for pucca houses and vice-versa.
Notably, the Central government had brought NFSA in 2013. The Act had eight yardsticks for exclusion at the time of making an application. Surprisingly, the number of applicants who had registered their names under the NFSA in Kendrapara district was 106 percent of the population of the district as per Census 2011 figures.
In order to exclude people from the list, the state government added three room pucca house as another criterion for exclusion of applicants from the list. Officials were asked to bring down the list to 78 percent of the population as per Census 2011 figures.
However, officials without going for a survey generated a list sitting at panchayat and block office. While influential and rich persons are said to have included in the list, several poor and landless persons have been excluded from the list.
Resentment is high among the locals over exclusion of deserving people from the list of beneficiaries under the NFSA with 300-500 persons visiting the block office every day since last week to lodge their complaints.