Party hands over Rs.5,000 each to relatives

State secretary of Communist Party of India (CPI) Pannian Ravindran has demanded that the State government pay compensation to the relatives of infants who died of malnutrition in Attappady.

He was inaugurating a protest meeting organised by the party at Agali on Friday. Mr. Ravindran said the State government had not paid compensation to the families of 48 infants who had died of malnutrition in Attappady in the last 16 months because “the government considered the tribal people as second-class citizens.” At the function, Mr. Ravindran gave away Rs.5,000 each to the families of 42 deceased infants.

He said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy who had visited Palakkad twice last month had not bothered to visit Attappady.

The attitude of the UDF government to problems in the tribal areas was clear from this. The government had spent thousands of crores of rupees in the name of tribespeople, but nothing had reached the target group and they were facing starvation and death.

Presiding over the meeting, K.E. Ismail, former MP, said the tragedy in Attappady was due to ‘criminal negligence’ of the State government. Even after two months of the tragedy, no effective steps were being taken. The grama panchayats were yet to take the problem seriously. They were not providing fund for distributing milk, egg, and banana through anganwadis, Mr. Ismail said.

“If Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is not able to provide a functioning government in the State he should quit. He is now busy with the infighting in his party,” Mr. Ismail said. The meeting was addressed by former Deputy Speaker Jose Baby; CPI State executive committee member V. Chamunni; party district secretary K.P. Suresh Raj; AITUC leader Vijayan Kunisseri; and district panchayat member Eswari Reshan among others.

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