NEW DELHI: In separate notices to the Union health secretary and secretary food and public distribution secretary, the National Human Rights Commission on Thursday sought action taken reports on increasing cases of black fungus infections and deaths. The commission also sought a report on denial of rations to beneficiaries of the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) over the absence of Aadhaar biometric data.
Seeking an ATR within eight weeks, and appropriate action as deemed fit in the black fungus case, NHRC was responding to a petition by Supreme Court lawyer and social activist Radhakanta Tripathy who reported over 3,000 instances of people across Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Delhi and Odisha suffering from Mucormycosis or black fungus. Tripathy attributed the rise in such cases to a lack of medical care, treatment facilities and guidelines, as also the “inaction and negligence” of the health ministry and state governments in the rising cases.
In the case of denial of rations to people for want of biometric verification, NHRC rapped the Union government and states over complaints it received and said that while the biometric systems were in place to stop leakages, “the lack of availability of internet, mobile connectivity to end users, who are residing at far flung, remote areas is also to be looked into. What is of paramount interest in these grave pandemic times, is to ensure that the beneficiaries of PMGKAY Scheme are not deprived of their entitlements,” the commission said.
Issuing notices to Union food and public distribution secretary and chief secretaries and administrators of all states and UTs, NHRC sought an ATR report in four weeks regarding the issue of problematic biometric authentication.
The Rights panel specifically directed Mizoram chief secretary to submit an ATR in one week on the alleged denial of benefits under PMGKAY to Chakma Villagers of Vasei and Damdep Godown of the Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC), District-Lawngtlai, Mizoram even though they had their Aadhaar and ration cards.