• Short Summary

    MILLIONS OF PEOPLE FACES STARVATION IN INDIA AS THE THREAT OF FAMINE SPREADS OVER FIVE NORTHERN STATES.

  • Description

    MILLIONS OF PEOPLE FACES STARVATION IN INDIA AS THE THREAT OF FAMINE SPREADS OVER FIVE NORTHERN STATES. IT IS EXPECTED TO STRIKE IN JANUARY OR FEBRUARY AND CONTINUE UNTIL THE HARVESTING SEASON NEXT AUTUMN. THE COUNTRY'S FOURTH GENERAL ELECTIONS ARE ALSO DUE TO BEGIN IN NEARLY FEBRUARY AND IT IS BEING OPENLY DEBATED WHETHER THEY SHOULD NOT BE POSTPONED.

    SOME AREAS ARE SUFFERING MUCH MORE SEVERELY THAN OTHERS. IN THE EASTERN HALF OF THE HUGE STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH, AND IN BIHAR, THE AUTUMN CROP WAS AS ALMOST TOTAL LOSS. IN THE ABSENCE OF THE USUAL SEPTEMBER RAIN, THE GROUND, BAKED BY THE SUN FOR EIGHT MONTHS, IS TOO HARD FOR THE FARMERS TO BREAK WITH THEIR WOODEN PLOUGHS.

    THERE CAN, THEREFORE, BE NO GENERAL SOWING OF THE CROP FOR NEXT SPRING, AND IT IS EXPECTED THAT THERE WILL BE NO FOOD PRODUCED FOR THE BEST PART OF A YEAR. THE SUDDEN DETERIORATION OF THE FOOD SITUATION IN BIHAR - SAID TO BE THE WORST AFFECTED AREA AND OTHER NORTH AND CENTRAL INDIAN STATES CAME AFTER THE SUMMER MONSOON SUDDENLY ABATED IN JULY, BUT THEN GAINED MOMENTUS IS AUGUST WITH A RESULT THAT MANY OTHER STATES RECEIVED ADEQUATE RAIN.

    SINCE THEN BIHAR HAS BEN EXPECTING AN IMPROVEMENT, BUT BY NOW THE DROUGHT HAS PLAYED HAVOC WITH THE VITAL KHARIF (AUTUMN) CROP AND ALREADY ABOUT HALF OF THIS YEAR'S HARVEST IS ESTIMATED TO HAVE BEEN RUINED. THE COUNTRYSIDE HAS BEEN REDUCED TO A BARREN DUSTBOWL -- THE SOIL IS CRACKED AND NOTHING WILL GROW.

    BIHAR HAS SUFFERED A DOUBLE BLOW; FIRST, FLOODS WASHING OUT PADDY CROPS IN THE NORTH, AND THEN DROUGHT WIPING OUT CROPS IN THE REST OF THE STATE. BY ITS OWN COUNT THE GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO HAVE TO FEED 47 MILLION PEOPLE THERE AT LEAST UNTIL NEXT MAY. ITS APPROACH TO THE PROBLEM IS BASED ON "FAIR PRICE SHOPS", OF WHICH, IT SAYS, THERE IS ONE IN EVERY SUBDISTRICT OF FOUR OR FIVE VILLAGES OR POPULATION OF 10,000, DEPENDING ON THE SIZE OF THE VILLAGES.

    GRAIN IN RATIONED QUANTITIES IS SOLD IN THESE SHOPS AT CHEAP CONTROLLED PRICES, AND THE NEXT PROBLEM IS TO SEE THAT THE VILLAGERS, ESPECIALLY THE POOREST, HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO BUT THEIR FOOD.

    RELIEF PROGRAMMES ARE BEING SET UP, GIVING A WAGE OF 1 1/2 RUPEES A DAY FOR EACH ADULT. THE GOVERNMENT SAYS THAT 350,000 PEOPLE ARE ALREADY AT WORK. FOR THOSE WHO ARE UNABLE TO WORK - THE CRIPPLED, OLD, OR ORPHANED YOUNG -- SPECIAL RED RATION CARDS ARE ISSUED, ENTITLING THE HOLDERS TO FREE RATIONS.

    MR. SAHAR, THE CHIEF MINISTER OF BIHAR, SAYS THERE IS NOT GOING TO BE ENOUGH GRAIN TO SUPPLY THESE RATION SHOPS. TO GIVE THE PEOPLE AFFECTED A RATION OF 8 OUNCES A DAY -- SAID TO BE THE MINIMUM TO SUSTAIN THEM -- THE STATE WOULD NEED AT LEAST 330,000 TONS FROM THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT.

    BIHAR WAS ALLOTTED 107,000 TONS OF FOOD GRAINS BY THE GOVERNMENT IN NOVEMBER, WHICH MEANT THAT THE RATION WAS REDUCED TO 4 OUNCES IN THE WORST AFFECTED AREAS. THE RATION IS TWO OUNCES IN THE AREAS WHICH ARE NOT QUITE SO BAD AND WHERE, IN THEORY, THE VILLAGERS CAN SUPPLEMENT THEIR RATIONS BY PURCHASE IN THE BAZAARS.

    THERE HAS BEEN ANXIETY IN INDIA ABOUT THE PRESENT DELAY IN OBTAINING AMERICAN AGREEMENT TO FURTHER SUPPLIES OF FOOD AID. PRESIDENT JOHNSON IS REPORTED TO HAVE DECIDED TO HOLD BACK ON FURTHER SHIPMENTS OF FREE GRAIN FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS, INCLUDING THE HOPE THAT THE THREAT OF FAMINE WOULD PERSUADE OTHER COUNTRIES TO SHARE THE BURDEN OF RELIEF..
    INDIA HAS BEEN NEGOTIATING FOR SUPPLIES OF WHEAT WITH SEVERAL COUNTRIES, INCLUDING AUSTRALIA AND CANADA. THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT FEELS THAT A NATIONAL CALAMITY CAN ONLY BE AVOIDED IF THERE IS A CONTINUED FLOW OF IMPORTED GRAIN INTO THE COUNTRY.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA8HDYVTYZS6M4UYN7ORK3X7DDI
    Media URN:
    VLVA8HDYVTYZS6M4UYN7ORK3X7DDI
    Group:
    Reuters - Incuding Visnews
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    07/12/1966
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:04:44:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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