Expressing their concern over non-implementation of several high court orders passed in respect of malnutrition deaths in tribal areas of Maharashtra, activists have written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Maharashtra Governor C Vidhyasagar Rao.
The letter, written by the activists on July 21, says, “Bombay High Court, since 1993, has passed many orders to curb malnutrition in the state. After the recent order, which HC passed on June 19, government should have conducted at least one meeting, but nothing is done yet. We expect government to implement all the orders passed by the high court.’
The June 19 order of the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court, says, “Though this court has been giving several orders from time to time, we find substantial progress is not been made by the state government in reducing the number of deaths of children on account of malnutrition and other causes. Statistical data says that as many as 10,000 deaths take place in tribal areas of Maharashtra, according to data provided by them.”
Melghat in Amravati district has been in the news for its high infant mortality rate. Bandu Sane, convenor of Khoj, an NGO working in the area, who along with other activists has written to the CM, said, “For the population of 3 lakh, we still do not have a paediatrician or a gynaecologist. Monsoon has arrived and we do not have even a paediatrician in Melghat. The ambulances are not in working condition neither are the biometrics in the hospitals. Telemedicine centre has been started at Dharni in Amravati, but it has become non-functional now. Sonography machine is present, but it is not working.”
The High Court, in June 19 order, had said that malnutrition deaths in tribal areas of Maharashtra is an issue as important as the farmers’ distress which attracted loan waiver by the government to mitigate it. The judges, in June19 order, had directed the government to implement all previous orders passed by the court within two months.
The government statistics say that as many as 407 children ranging between the age of 0 and 6 years have died in the last financial year, while 22 maternal deaths have been reported in Melghat. From April 1 to June 30 this year, as many as 56 child deaths between age group of 0 and 6, as many as 29 still births and 3 maternal deaths have been reported in Melghat. “When government is spending so much on protection of tigers, they should also be sensitive towards the issue of malnutrition,” added Sane.