No starvation deaths in state: Bengal food minister

Last Updated: Tue, Oct 09, 2012 14:00 hrs

Kolkata, Oct 9 (IANS) The West Bengal government, which probed allegations of starvation deaths in the state, Tuesday claimed the enquiry reports do not sustain the claims and no hunger deaths have taken place.

"Following the accusations, the department of food had ordered four different probes conducted by different government authorities and all the reports have proved that the deaths have been due to reasons other than starvation," state Food and Supplies Minister Jyoti Priya Mallick told IANS.

The minister ordered the investigations after a network of trade unions and NGOs headed by West Bengal adviser to the Supreme Court Anuradha Talwar claimed that there had been 13 starvation deaths in the state in the last 14 months.

Talwar said 11 starvation deaths took place in Jalpaiguri district while one death each occurred in West Midnapore and Purulia districts.

Claiming that the accusations of hunger deaths were "politically motivated", Mallick said the government was taking all necessary steps to provide food to the poor in the state.

"One probe can be wrong, but not all. That is why I had ordered four probes so that there is no element of doubt. The deaths have been either due to snake bite, or renal failure or old age and sickness. There has been no starvation death in the state," added Mallick.

Talwar, however, rubbished the government's claim and demanded an independent probe.

"It is amazing to know that the probes which were ordered only Oct 6 were completed within two days. This only necessitates an independent probe. The authorities who conducted the probe would never dare to go against the government," Talwar told IANS.

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