Other States

Bombay HC displeased over number of malnutrition deaths in Melghat

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday expressed displeasure over the number of deaths in Melghat due to malnutrition. The court also rapped the Union government for not filing an affidavit they were directed to last year in December.

A Division Bench of Justices S.C. Dharmadhikari and R.I. Chagla was hearing a bunch of public interest litigations (PIL) filed in 2007 about increase in malnutrition cases in the interior of Maharashtra, especially Melghat. One of the PIL highlights the vacant posts of anaesthetists, gynaecologists and paediatricians in the government clinics and hospitals which add to the problem.

When informed that the number of deaths due to malnutrition has reduced, the court reacted and asked is this something to be pleased about? It said Maharashtra is such a progressive State and that this issue does not suit it. Even if one infant dies of malnutrition it is something to be worried about, the court remarked.

The court went on to say if the State is spending crores of rupees and coming up with several schemes to deal with malnutrition then why is it that the condition remains unchanged. “Where is all the money going? Are the names of the schemes being changed and the money is being used for something else..?”. Commenting on the political situation in the State, the Bench quipped, “we are currently in a State where there is no government...”

The Bench also came down heavily on the Union government for not filing an affidavit as they were directed to in December last year. The court wanted to know why the officials who look after this issue were not in court.

The court has called all the ground level officers from the tribal health, tribal development, public health and women and child development to apprise it of the ground level development on December 5.

Meanwhile, the Bench also directed the Union government to file an affidavit in two weeks on the audit conducted with respect to the budget and expenditure thereof.

Right to Information queries have revealed that 283 children have died in Melghat alone, and around 17,000 in the entire State, due to malnutrition in 2015-2016. A report by the State Women and Child Development department shows that on an average 500 children die every year in Melghat, against its population of three lakh. In 2013-14, the number of child deaths rose to 600 and in 2014-15 another 426 children died in just two blocks of Melghat.

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Printable version | Sep 30, 2020 8:53:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bombay-hc-displeased-over-number-of-malnutrition-deaths-in-melghat/article29891137.ece

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