Activists of ‘Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan\\\’ working for food security, on Saturday appealed the Central and Rajasthan governments to provide subsidised cereals to all and asked for an effective National Food security legislation.
Scores of activists of \\\’Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan\\\’, an organisation of over 30 groups working together for food security, reached Jaipur on Saturday morning from various parts of the state.
They demanded from the government to remove the distinction of APL-BPL and open the doors of the godowns to distribute the grains to needy.
They began several yatras from different parts of the state to highlight their demands and arrived in Jaipur and gave representations in the name of Prime Minister, Governor and Chief Minister.
After holding a meeting, the activists submitted a memorandum in which they demanded that everyone should be given subsidised cereals, pulses and edible oil; every single woman, disabled persons and aged people should be given unconditional pension of Rs 2000.
Here is the full text of the memorandum:
ROZI ROTI ADHIKAR ABHIYAN, RAJASTHAN
6th October, 2012
Mr. Manmohan Singh
Government for India
Mrs. Margeret Alva
Governor of Rajasthan
Civil Lines, Jaipur
We are all aware of the state of hunger and malnutrition in the State of Rajasthan and the country. According to statistics, in every 5 minutes one child dies in the world, but the condition of our country is extremely painful and shameful where three children die every one minute. According to National Family and Health Survey, 2008 out of every two children one child is born malnourished. Out of every three women, two women and out of every three adults one adult is malnourished. The story of our country’s economic growth is that Hunger and Malnourishment have not decreased. Is this not an issue of concern for you? This is such a serious issue for us that we have been struggling for this cause since 2001 but now if the government doesn’t take necessary action we will be forced to strengthen our movement in the state and the country.
“Inexpensive (subsidised) cereals for all, open the doors of the godowns and make an effective National Food security Legislation” are the demands of the several yatras which started in different places in the state and have today reached Jaipur. In Rajasthan this yatra is being taken out to break the silence in the State and to support the lawful and URGENT demands of the people. Similar kinds of yatras are being taken out in different parts of the country. We hope that these voices will be heard by the State governments of different States and also the Government of India sitting in Delhi and the food security of the people will be realised through a new perspective.
The Rajasthan state the yatra is being taken out from all areas in Rajasthan.
In South Rajasthan the yatra began on the 30th September and 1st October:
•First yatra started from Kotada’s Medi Panchayat (where hunger deaths happened in 2001), which is on the border of Gujarat, this yatra reached Udaipur via Kotada.
•Second yatra reached Udaipur via Kushalgarh, Sajjangarh and Banswara.
•Third yatra started from Dungarpur and reached Udaipur via Kherwada.
•The fouth yatra went through Bali, Sirohi-Abu Road and Pidwada and reached Udaipur.
All these yatras came together in Udaipur on 2nd October, 2012 and then reached Jaipur via Rajsamad, Devgarh, Bhim, Beawar, Bhim, Ajmer and Kishangarh.
In West Rajasthan the yatras:
• The first yatra started from Chauhtan area on the 29th of September from the villages which are on the border of Pakistan and reached Barmer on 1st of October..
•The second yatra reached Jodhpur on 3rd October via Jaisalmer, Pokhran and Fahlodi.
A big convention took place in Jodhpur on the 3rd of October and on 4th October one group of this yatra reached Bhim, Beawar and joined the South Rajasthan yatra.
In North Rajasthan:
•On 2nd October the yatra started from Hanumangarh and Bikaner and reached Jaipur on the 6th October via Sardar Shehar, Ratangarh, Churu, Navalgarh, Dabla and Neem ka Thana.
•The yatra from Alwar also reached Jaipur and on its return they plan to carry out an intensive campaign. .
All these yatras are meeting in Jaipur today. On the 7th they will go through Sawai Madhopur, Kota to reach Kishanganj and Shahabad in Baran. Till now through these yatras in public and ‘Nukkad’ Sabhas ten thousand people have been contacted and thousands of signatures have been taken.
From every corner in Rajasthan the demands which have ben raised are:
•Remove the distinction of A.P.L.-B.P.L.
•Open the doors of the Godowns and distribute the grains.
•Rations does not mean just cereals. Everyone should be given subsidised and inexpensive cereals, pulses and edible oil.
Approximately 10 kgs of cereals, 1.5 kg of pulses and 900 gms of edible oil should be provided to everyperson per month.
•Cash should not be given in the place of Rations. Only Ration is what we demand.
•Migrant labourers, whether from the State or not, should be given ration cards. Everyone should be given inexpensive cereals, pulses and edible oil.
•Every single woman, disabled persons and aged people should be given unconditional pension of Rs 2000.
Other demands which were raised all along the Yatra were:
•100 days of employment must be given through NREGA and full payement of wages must be given.
• In Tribal areas 200 days of employment must be given through NREGA.
• Minimum wages should be determined through scientific means.
• Under the Forest Rights Act the right to claim personal and community claim should be given immediately.
• The Women and Child Development Department should be held liable for the corruption in the Anganwadis and there should be no privatisations of nutrition.
• Privatisation in Mid day meals scheme must be stopped and even the children who don’t come to schools also should be given right to the mid meals.
• Rs 2000 per month should be given to the mother for 6months after the birth of a child as Maternity benefit.
Some other demands which were raised:
• There must be food Storage Godowns in every tehsil for providing food security.
• Every farmer should get the benefit of Minimum Support Price and the amount of Minimum Support Price should be calculated on real costs.
• The first call of on our Jal (Water), Jungle (Forest), Zameen (Land) should be for food and not Dams, mining and factories. This should be non-negotiable.
• All Agricultural loans should be written off.
The above mentioned demands should be effectively included in the proposed Food Security Bill and independent bodies for complaint resolution should be formed at the District and State level and if the rights are denied then the officers should be penalised and criminal cases be proceeded against.
•The interim orders of Supreme Court directing that 35 kg of cereals to provide to poor families must be implemented with immediate effect.
•In Jaipur the flood victims should be provided with homes and livelihoods. Compensation and support should be provided to the victims.
•Everyone should be considered as B.P.L. and inexpensive food security must be provided to all.
•Till the time the bastis dwellers are not rehabilitated to some other area the Amanishah Nala Basti must not be destroyed irrespective of the order of the Courts.
Unfortunately both the State and the Central Governments are not concerned about these serious issues. With our several years of experience we know that Anganwadi, Mid day meals, ration facility etc programs cannot alone provide public food security. Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan, Rajasthan strongly believes that for effective food security we need to ensure that there is local production, procurement, storage and distribution. In this reference it is also extremely important that the first priority be to save (jal), forest (jungle) and land (zameen), godowns must be established on the panchayat level and effective distribution system of the ration must be established.
On the other hand due to inflation, the prices in the market are continuously rising. Due to the steep increase in the prices of petrol and diesel it has become extremely difficult for the common man to fulfil her basic necessities. In majority of families, pulses and vegetables are disappearing from the plates. Kerosene has become extremely expensive and is very difficult to access. L.P.G. gas has also become extremely expensive. Hence in cities and villages the trouble of kitchen and stove (chulha) has become very grave for the poor and the middle class.
The painful truth is that at this time there is more than 8 crore tons of cereals in the FCI godowns which will increase to become 10 crore ton after the Kharif crops are harvested and procured. On the other hand, there are children, adults and aged people who are hungry and malnourished. Is there a crime bigger than letting cereals rot, or be eaten by mice and exported at subsidised rates to become animal feed? Why is the Government of India, Parliament, Media, the Upper and Middle class of the Society quiet at this injustice? We are all responsible for every hungry and malnourished life and untimely death.
There is sufficient procurement and production of cereals, pulses and edible oil in the State as shown below:
Sr. No. Food Production Necessity Production Usage (Percentage)
1. Cereals 18.7 MT 8.4 MT 45
(7Cr x 120Kg)
2. Pulses 23.59 Lacs 12.6 Lac Tonne 50
(7 Cr. @ 18 kg)
3. Edible oil 11.67 Ltr. 6.72 Ltr 58
(7 Crx900 gmsx12)
The State Government itself can solve the problem of food security of the public and can free them from hunger and malnourishment. What is needed is political will. Will you take the first step.