Despite an increase in the mortality rate of tribal infants in Attappady – 53 deaths in the past 17 months – the Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) spent just Rs.35 lakh on the health sector out of its total expenditure of Rs.12.55 crore during 2012-13.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in its just released report on the infant deaths blamed the lack of medical facilities and trained medical personnel for the death of 39 children in one year from April 2012 to May 2013.he report said the Government Tribal Specialty Hospital at Kottathara, Attappady, had “no iron and folic acid supplied for the last two years. No protocol available for Injection Iron Sucrose IV to control and treat severe anaemia among pregnant mothers.”
The ITDP, created in 1975 for the development of the nearly 30,000 tribal population of Attappady, spent the Rs.35 lakh for the maintenance and running of an ambulance.
Its 2012-13 annual plan expenditure statement showed it spent Rs.24.12 lakh for the maintenance of the ambulance and another Rs.8.5 lakh as vehicle rent to bring 1,328 tribal patients from their hamlets to the hospital. Thus, it practically did not spend any money to provide health infrastructure, medicines, or financial assistance to the poor tribal patients.
However, it spent Rs.6.45 crore on the education sector and Rs.5.75 crore for the tribal welfare projects during the past financial year.
An amount of Rs.2.38 crore was spent to prove food, uniform, and books to 1,639 students living in 16 pre-matric hostels and another Rs.1.25 crore for educational assistance to 5,438 students in schools and colleges.
The ITDP spent Rs.2.03 crore for constructing 172 houses for tribal people. It spent Rs.1.76 crore on the loss-making Attappady Co-operative Farming Society and the Vattulukky Farming Society, the annual plan expenditure report said.