[Reader-list] Reg: Set - 5

Rakesh Iyer rakesh.rnbdj at gmail.com
Wed Jun 23 22:00:59 IST 2010

Source: The Hindu

Article Theme: Right to Food

Date: Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003

Link: http://www.hinduonnet.com/2003/01/07/stories/2003010706780400.htm


*Spotlight on right to food *

By Our Staff Reporter

 NEW DELHI JAN. 6. During the past few months, there have been widespread
reports of extreme hunger and even "starvation deaths'' from different parts
of the country. Chronic hunger and malnutrition haunt millions of women, men
and children on a day-to-day basis. Apart from being intolerable in its own
right, this situation reflects a gross violation of the recent Supreme Court
directive on the right to food.

To turn the spotlight of attention on this issue, a public hearing on hunger
and starvation will be organised here in the Capital this coming Friday by
the support group of the "Right to Food'' campaign, an informal network of
organisations and individuals committed to realisation of the right to food
in India. The group believes that the primary responsibility for
guaranteeing this right rests with the State.

``State authorities need to be held accountable to this situation and the
conscience of the nation also needs to be stirred. That is why we are
organising the public hearing,'' says a spokesperson for the support group
on "Right to Food''. Particular attention will be paid to recent instances
of "starvation deaths'' in different states. "Our role as citizens is mainly
to hold the State accountable to its duty.''

At the public hearing, first-hand testimonies of starvation deaths and of
the living conditions that prevail in the affected communities will be
presented. Going beyond this, the gathering will focus on the enormity of
hunger in contemporary India and the diverse ways in which it blights
people's lives. The hearing will also be an opportunity to consider the
failure of the State in addressing these issues.

``Starvation deaths have been reported from Baran in Rajasthan, Kashipur in
Orissa, Palamau in Jharkhand, Shivpuri, Badwani in Madhya Pradesh and
Nandurbar in Maharashtra. The persistence of widespread hunger is all the
more absurd as public godowns in the country are overflowing with grains,''
says the spokesperson of the "Right to Food'' support group, adding that
public pressure was needed to ensure that the Court's order with regard to
the "Right to Food'' was implemented. "States such as Rajasthan have seen
major improvements in food-related programmes in response to such

On January 10, therefore, the testimonies of those "living with hunger''
will be heard by a small panel of distinguished economists, nutritionists
and other experts for the first time in the Capital. Economist Amartya Sen
and writer Mahasweta Devi have agreed to participate in the hearing which is
expected to further the support group's objective of catalysing state
intervention through effective popular organisation in a democratic manner.

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