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Bombay High Court Expresses Concern Over Death Of Children Due To Malnutrition In State's Tribal Belt Of Melghat

Sharmeen Hakim
18 Aug 2022 4:18 AM GMT
Bombay High Court Expresses Concern Over Death Of Children Due To Malnutrition In States Tribal Belt Of Melghat
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The Bombay High Court on Wednesday expressed concern on deaths of several children due to malnutrition over sixteen years in the tribal belt of Melghat in Amravati District. "...We are mainly concerned with why deaths are not coming down," Chief Justice Dipankar Datta, heading the division bench said. The deaths haven't decreased significantly over sixteen years since...

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday expressed concern on deaths of several children due to malnutrition over sixteen years in the tribal belt of Melghat in Amravati District.

"...We are mainly concerned with why deaths are not coming down," Chief Justice Dipankar Datta, heading the division bench said.

The deaths haven't decreased significantly over sixteen years since the petition was instituted in 2006.

Chief Justice also noted an incident in which a mother lost her twins because there was no hospital in Botoshi village in Palghar district.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice M.S. Karnik was hearing a batch of PILs related to death of several children due to malnutrition. The petitions seek specialists, nutrition and health facilities for children and expectant mothers in the Melghat region.

Senior Advocate J. T. Gilda, for petitioner Dr. Rajendra Burma, submitted that 18 children have died between July 15 and August 15 in one village. He said that 50% of doctors posted in this region are not joining duties. The doctors are being paid meagre salaries.

Justice Karnik asked who these doctors are so that action against them can be taken. "Whatever you are saying is serious. Please place it on record", the court added.

Gilda cited several deaths due to water related issues and submitted that potable water is not available in the concerned villages due to arrears of electricity payment by village panchayats.

Bandu Sampatrao Sane, a tribal rights activist and intervenor in the matter appeared in person. He submitted that half of the gynaecologists and paediatricians posted in the area are not coming since December. There are issues related to accommodation of the doctors. However, the main problem is lack of coordination between departments.

Sanu also submitted that Nandurbar district has the maximum number of deaths. There should be a policy for the type of food being served to anganwadi kids. "Till the officers sitting in Mumbai don't visit the villages children will keep dying (of malnutrition)", he added.

Advocate Bhushan Malgaonkar for the intervenor stated that census of infant mortality rate of tribals in tribal areas is not being disclosed because the numbers are very large.

Chief Justice Datta asked the State about short-term plans and long term plans the Advocate General had referred to in a previous hearing. Government Pleader P. P. Kakade informed the court that the state has dealt with the suggestions of the petitioner regarding short term plans.

The court adjourned the case to September 12, 2022 keeping it part-heard in view of a likely change in assignment. He directed the intervenor and Kakade to coordinate and see what immediate measures can be taken to help the tribals.

(Inputs by Amisha Shrivastav)

Case no. – PIL/133/2007

Case title – Dr Rajendra Sadanand Burma and Anr. v. State of Maharashtra and Ors.

Coram – Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice M. S. Karnik

Click Here To Read/Download Order



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