Starvation death in Odisha rocks assembly

BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Assembly on Thursday witnessed pandemonium over alleged ‘starvation death’ of a 55-year-old tribal woman in Balangir district.

The houses witnessed repeated adjournments after opposition Congress raised the issue seeking a statement from the revenue and disaster management minister on the issue.

The issue was first raised by Leader of the Opposition Narasingh Mishra as soon as the zero hours started.

“We demand a statement from the revenue and disaster management minister on the starvation death of a woman in drought-hit Balangir district,” Mishra said.

Mishra alleged that Sua Dei of Gutupalli village under Balangir block of the district died of starvation on November 8.

He said the old woman was alone in the house as the family members had migrated to other states in search of jobs because of the acute drought situation.

Stating that he got the information from media reports, the Congress leader, who hails from the district, informed that the allegation was true, and the woman died due to lack of food.

He said even though the deceased woman had lifted rice from PDS outlet as per the records, there was no grain in her house.

He also alleged that the body was buried without conducting postmortem which could have proved that she died of starvation.

BJP legislator K. V. Singhdeo also demanded a ruling from the speaker directing the government to give a statement over the issue.

He alleged that the district administration has been trying to cover up the incident.

As Speaker Niranjan Pujari refused to give a ruling on the matter, irate Congress members rushed to the well of the House and shouted slogans against the government leading several adjournments.

Normalcy returned to the house after the speaker gave a ruling asking the government to give a statement on the alleged starvation death case in the house within 24 hours.

BJD MLA Pratap Jena said there is no question of starvation death in Odisha as the state government is providing adequate food grains to poor people.