A file picture of members of Right To Food Campaign, Jharkhand chapter protesting before Krishi Bhavan in New Delhi over hunger deaths in Jharkhand
Ranchi: Jharkhand, where two more persons have died from starvation recently, were pensioners too, but neither they were getting rations, nor pensions. Raghubar Das government had announced to increase pension amount from Rs 600 to Rs 1000 per month, but since January, 2019, when it should get implemented, neither increased amount nor earlier one get paid in Latehar district.
Latehar is also the native of Ramcharan Munda, who succumbed to hunger on June 5.
In the month of May and June, two people, both tribals, died from hunger in Jharkhand, Motka Manjhi of Jama (Dumka district) and Ramcharan Munda of Mahuadanr (Latehar district).
Along with these two, at least 21 alleged hunger deaths took place in Jharkhand in last three years.
Right to Food Campaign’s Jharkahnd chapter, whose members visited both the families issued a press communiqué and claimed, “In both cases, the victims were pensioners but they did not receive any pension payment since January 2019.”
It writes further, “Enquiries from the welfare office in Latehar district reveal that no pensions have been paid in the entire district after January 2019. The reason, we were told, is that the required financial allotments had not been made by the state government.”
“Reports from other districts suggest same situation in many other districts as well, if not in the entire state, the press release adds.
On 28 November 2001, the Supreme Court had directed the central and state governments to ensure that social security pensions are promptly paid by the 7th day of each month every month. Nearly 18 years later, this order is still nowhere near being observed in Jharkhand.
Notably, according to RTF, The discontinuation of pension payments is all the more shocking as Chief Minister Raghubar Das promised to raise pension amounts from Rs 600 per month to Rs 1,000 per month around the beginning of this year. Six months later, the enhanced payments of Rs 1,000 per month are yet to begin. Meanwhile, pension payments have been stopped altogether, in some districts at least.
The campaign made three demands:
- Immediate clearance of the backlog of pension payments, at the enhanced rate of Rs 1,000 per month, throughout the state.
- Assured pension payments by the 7thday of each month from now on, as per Supreme Court orders.
- Compensation of Rs 10 lakh each for the families of Motka Manjhi and Ramachandra Munda.