Over 600 tribal children have died so far
Taking suo moto cognisance of the deaths of infants due to malnutrition in Nashik district of Maharashtra, the Bombay High Court has asked the government to design an action plan to tackle the situation.
Media reports say over 600 tribal children have so far died due to malnutrition in the district. The division bench comprising of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice R S Dalvi on September 15 also appointed senior lawyer Gayatri Singh as amicus curiae in the case.
Sources in the state government said that a white paper on the matter will be issued soon.
According to sources, there are about 35,000 malnourished children in the district. “Over 450 children have died of malnutrition in past four months alone,” says a senior doctor at a Primary Health Centre in Harsul circle of Nashik, who did not wish to be named. “Since the tribals migrate to various parts of the state for job, it is difficult to monitor their health and whether they are consuming the Take Home Ration (THR) supplied at the anganwadis,” he adds.
Nitin Devargaonkar, sarpanch of Harsul says that it is difficult for them to reach out to each and every family in the tribal areas due to various reasons, including lack of transport facilities, shortage of staff and no infrastructure like roads.
After the reports about the deaths, the district administration jumped into action and brought several children to anganwadis. “All these children were categorised to be Severely Affected Malnourished (SAM) and given vitamins, eggs and other nutritious food. Now these children have been sent back to their villages,” Devargaonkar adds. But these short-term measures will not yield desired results, he says.
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