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Citizens dying due to hunger despite our development: SC

Citizens are dying due to hunger despite our development, the Supreme Court said Thursday while asking the state governments to work out modalities to ensure that maximum migrant workers are given rations.

A bench of Justices M R Shah and B V Nagarathna was hearing a case in which the top court in May 2020 had taken cognisance of the problems and miseries of migrant labourers.

“The Food and civil services department in each state must have a target of how many ration cards they are going to register. This has to be worked locally as each state will have its own criteria. There must be a fixed criterion.

“Ultimately, the aim is that no citizen should die of hunger in India. Unfortunately, this (starvation deaths) is happening despite our development, citizens are dying of hunger and lack of food. In villages, they tie their stomach tightly so that they do not feel hungry. I know it. They tie their stomachs with a sari or some other cloth and drink water and sleep. Children and elders do it because they cannot afford food,” Justice B V Nagarathna orally observed.

The top court said it will pass some orders on the matter and hear the case after two weeks.

Three activists, Anjali Bharadwaj, Harsh Mander, and Jagdeep Chhokar, had filed the plea seeking directions to the Centre and states to ensure food security, cash transfers, and other welfare measures for migrant workers who faced distress due to curfews and lockdowns in various parts of the country during the second wave of COVID-19.

The fresh plea was filed in a pending suo motu case of 2020 in which the top court in May 2020 had taken cognisance of the problems and miseries of migrant labourers and had passed a slew of directions.

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