Study shows food shortage among Bengal tribals

-The Telegraph

The Mamata Banerjee government claims that its khadya sathi food scheme has eliminated hunger

Calcutta: A study carried out by the Pratichi Institute and the Asiatic Society has found out that a significant proportion of tribal people in Bengal had faced “food scarcity of varying degrees” in the past one year.

The finding drills holes into Mamata Banerjee government’s claims that its policy of cheap food grain supply, known as khadya sathi, has eliminated hunger.

The survey, preliminary findings of which were released on Monday, had covered 1,000 tribal households in 10 tribal dominated districts, including Purulia, Bankura, West Midnapore, Birbhum and Jalpaiguri.

Nobel laureate and economist Amartya Sen, who donated from his Nobel honorarium to set up Pratichi (India) trust in 1999 and under whose aegis Pratichi Institute was set up to enhance its research and public action, was present at the programme where the survey findings were made public.

The survey pointed out 31 per cent of the surveyed households had faced food scarcity of varying degrees in the past one year.

“For most of the households, the diet contained mainly cereal; seldom could they afford to eat animal protein and pulses. Deforestation coupled with environmental pollution had severely reduced the availability of natural nutrients,” the report said.

The study further said 12 per cent of the surveyed households were unable to afford food more than twice a day.

The findings came as an embarrassment for Nabanna as the government had earlier said no tribal faced scarcity of food after deaths of few Savars were reported from Jhargram a couple of months ago.

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The Telegraph, 8 January, 2019, https://www.telegraphindia.com/states/west-bengal/study-shows-food-shortage-among-bengal-tribals/cid/1681161

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