Starvation deaths: NGO seeks community kitchens in capital

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New Delhi, July 26 (IANS) An NGO has demanded a detailed enquiry into the starvation deaths of the three minor girls here to find if they were excluded from various social welfare programmes. It has also asked for setting up of community kitchens across Delhi.

“We demand that a detailed inquiry into the starvation deaths of the three minor girls aged two, four and eight must be undertaken. The inquiry committee must include independent experts and doctors,” said the Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan (DRRAA) on Thursday.

“The inquiry must also examine whether or not the family was covered by welfare programmes,” said the Abhiyan which is carrying out its own fact finding. The issue of lack of food security and social security of the poor and marginalised in Delhi is undeniable, it said.

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There is a need to strengthen the framework of food security and remove barriers that prevent people from accessing it. Making food security conditional upon peoples’ ability to produce identity proof or Aadhaar is inhumane and a violation of the right to life, it said.

“There is an urgent need to establish community kitchens across Delhi which provide hot cooked food and the kitchens must not turn away any person desirous of food. Several states have put in place systems to provide hot cooked meals at very nominal costs or free of cost,” it said.

The Abhiyan listed down several other measures like ending of quota system and universalisation of Public Distribution System and provision of pulses, oil and sugar to all ration cardholders and provision of eggs, fruits and milk for children everyday through mid-day meal scheme.

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It also demanded the enquiry to examine whether or not the family was covered by food security and social welfare programs like PDS ration, Anganwadi centre (which was located 10 meters from the house), mid-day meal and whether the mentally ill mother received any treatment.

“If the family was left out of the purview of these programmes, the inquiry must examine the reasons for their exclusion. The inquiry must fix accountability and ensure that officials who were in any way responsible for the exclusion of the family from these programs are held responsible.”

–IANS

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