Koksara: With her husband, the sole breadwinner of the family, being jobless and stuck in Bangalore where he worked as a manual labourer, 27 years old Kasturi Meher struggles to shoulder the burden of a five-member family.
For Kasturi, wife of Mohan Meher from Sanpodaguda village under Koksara block in Kalahandi district, it has been a difficult task to feed five stomachs three times a day. She lives with her two sons and two daughters—Bibek (10), Chandan (4), Laxmi and Hitrika (3). Hitrika is visually impaired by birth.
“Six months ago Mohan went to Bangalore as a migrant labourer and worked with a private firm. Prior to lockdown, he used to send money every month. But the lockdown has left us nowhere. The company he was working at has since been closed. His earning has come to an end. Now he is not able to arrange food even once in a day for himself, let alone sending money to us,” narrated Kasturi while sitting at the entrance of her house, along with her children.
Kasturi said most nights they go to sleep with empty stomachs.
When asked if she receives any government assistance, Kasturi said they have a ration card and receive 10-kilogram rice every month. “In a five-member family like us, 10-kilogram rice is never enough. Since the card does not include names of my children, we are not getting the rice we ought to,” she said.
The woman further added that she had been running pillar to post to get their children’s names included in the ration card as beneficiaries. “It seems there is none to give me a patient hearing,” she rues.
Worse, she is also not able to get a disability pension for her youngest daughter despite her best efforts.
When contacted, Koksara block development officer Maneesha Das feigned ignorance about the issue. “We will soon take steps to include the four minor members of the family as beneficiaries under National Food Security Act (NFSA) and the youngest daughter will get her disability pension,” assured the BDO.