By Debayan Roy
Stories of deaths due to hunger and starvation may seem unreal in the 21st century. Not in Jharkhand, where people even resort to eating rats to make sure they don’t sleep with an empty stomach.
Twelve deaths allegedly due to hunger over the last one year have led to panic among the surviving villagers and denial by the government.
According to the latest government data, nutritional deficiency among rural children aged 6 months to 5 years in Jharkhand is a staggering 13% more than the national average. Even among adult men and women of Jharkhand, the level of nutritional deficiency is more than 10% of the national average.
Though, government states that most of the deaths reported due to hunger are often cases of malnutrition, neglect or tuberculosis. However, the National Family Health Survey data shows that the number of underweight children in rural Jharkhand is almost 14% higher than the national average.
News18 travelled to seven districts in Jharkhand to unearth stories of hunger, deprivation and deaths. From Ranchi to Ramgarh, Garhwa to Chatra, Giridhi to Pakur, and Dhanbad to Deoghar, starvation is a reality and there is no turning back from it.