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Sunday, September 02, 2001

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BPL cards mortgaged for liquor

By Our Special Correspondent

BHUBANESWAR, SEPT. 1. The Special Relief Commissioner of Orissa, Mr. Hrushikesh Panda, who visited Rayagada district following media reports about ``starvation deaths'', has observed that the most likely reason for the deaths in the Kashipur block was infection/food poisoning. ``The people do not wash the `Handi' used for cooking or the `lautumba' used for serving, for days together.''

The Bilamal village residents said the gruel was not consumed for four days as the fermentation produces alcohol. Utensils are not washed for the same reason. Only after the death of a family member, as a part of funeral rites, is the `Handi' washed or changed.

Mr. Panda said that another common cause of death in Kashipur area was that the people drink polluted water from the agricultural fields and `nalas'.

In Panasguda village where seven persons died, it was found that BPL ration cards had been mortgaged by some persons with a moneylender for buying liquor.

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