"They eat once in two or three days. They eat if someone gives them some food," said Jyoti.Jyoti does not know what will happen to the orphans after the only remaining food in the house gets over. And it’s not much, only one sack of grain. Jyoti has not received any official help so far, except Rs 200 for cremating her daughter.
Starvation deaths —With no growth in the farming sector and harvesters increasingly replacing labour in the fields, people still wholly dependant on agriculture for a living are starving across the rural belt of eastern UP. Last year, people died of hunger in the village of Bansgaon barely 10 km from the town of Dudhai. It was only after the local media reported the deaths that Below Poverty Line (BPL) cards were distributed in the area. Most of the villagers have BPL cards now with which they can buy 35 kg of grain from government ration shops at the subsidised rate of Rs 100. But few of them can manage to put even that much money together – Rs 100 at one time.
No govt help —On paper, food for work programmes and employment guarantee schemes exist. On the ground they are nowhere to be seen. "In the winters there is no work so people have no choice but to take credit and buy ration," said a villager. As scavengers in cities trawl through garbage dumps and compete with dogs in search of food, the poorest of the poor in villages eat grass to fill their stomachs as India celebrates its 57th Republic Day.