23 September, 2020

Poverty And Its Spectres

Poverty And Its Spectres
Just how many below poverty line (BPL) families are there in Orissa? An official probe in Rayagada district had found in 1999 that though there were only 1,41,040 BPL families in the district, as many as 2,32,740 cards were in circulation! Why the additional 90,000 cards were issued is a Rs 3.5-crore question that is yet to be answered.

That the BPL surveys in the state are a big sham had become even more painfully clear when starvation deaths came back to haunt Orissa’s most backward district last year and the SC pulled up the state administration for its skewed BPL lists.

The matter had come to light way back in ’98 when Chamanlal, special representative of the National Human Rights Commission, went on a fact-finding mission to Rayagada. It was the ensuing outcry that forced the state government to order the probe, under the deputy administrator of the Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput region, Hrushikesh Panda. The BJD regime had made a huge noise about the Panda report after coming to power. But poverty obviously gets less priority than political circuses.



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