Taking note of increasing instances of malnutrition-related deaths of children in tribal areas across Maharashtra, the Bombay High Court today came down heavily on the state government over its failure to implement curative measures.
A bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice N M Jamdar reprimanded the state for “boasting” about its various remedial measures when it was apparent that none of such measures had been implemented properly.
The bench said that no matter how beautiful the state’s roadmap for tribal development is, the fact is that children were still dying of hunger and malnutrition.
The observations came after the court was informed that 180 children had died of malnutrition and related illnesses in tribal areas in the last two months.
“Stop boasting. Have you been able to prevent a single death? If you indeed follow the welfare state model, then you should be able to say that there are no deaths (because of malnutrition),” the bench said.
It also asked the government if it was aware of the food and nutrition supplements being provided to tribal children as well as to the children in anganwadis.
“The children in anganwadis are being given masoor dal.
Is that enough for their nutrition? You receive funds. Where does that money go? Should the public begin to keep track of such funds?” it asked.
The court was hearing a bunch of public interest litigations highlighting the rise in malnutrition deaths and illnesses among those living in Melghat region of Vidarbha and other tribal areas.
The court has passed several orders over the last two years, directing the government to ensure those in the tribal areas get adequate nutrition, healthcare, sanitation, and education facilities.
However, Chief Justice Chellur noted that the state government had done little to implement the orders.
The court has now scheduled weekly hearings of all matters pertaining to tribal welfare.
( Source – PTI )