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Central probe ordered into starvation death of Simdega girl

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Ranchi/Delhi, Oct 18 (IANS) A central probe has been ordered into the starvation death of an 11-year-old girl in Jharkhand, official sources said on Wednesday even as the opposition flayed the Raghubar Das government on the matter.

Santoshi Kumari of Karimati village in Simdega district died on September 28. The death was reported on Sunday by an organisation working on food security-related issues.

“Union Food and Public Distribution Minister Ramvilas Paswan has directed the Union Food Secretary to hold an inquiry. The Centre will send its team to the state soon to hold the probe,” an official release said in Delhi.

Paswan also sought a report from the state government.

The Union Minister expressed concerns over non-distribution of ration for over three months despite the Food Security Act in force in Jharkhand.

“As per the Act, the state government should give allowance to beneficiaries in case ration could not be provided. Action should be taken against the erring officials,” the release quoted Paswan as saying.

Former Jharkhand Chief Minister Babulal Marandi, who visited the girl’s house on Wednesday, told the media: “Government system has collapsed in Jharkhand. The Jharkhand government is spending millions of rupees on celebration of 1,000 days in office but people are dying due to starvation.”

The girl’s mother said she died due to starvation as the family did not get food grain from the Public Distribution System shop as their ration card was not linked to Aadhaar Card.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das on Tuesday visited Simdega and spoke with the district Deputy Commissioner, who claimed the girl “died of malaria” and not starvation.

Another former Chief Minister and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) Executive President Hemant Soren said: “Chief Minister Raghubar Das is visiting foreign countries whereas people are dying for want of food. Shame on the government.”

Government sources said that the girl’s family had bought food grains under the PDS in July.

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