Right to Food Campaign, a platform of social activists, said poor implementation of government welfare programmes was marginalising tribals further in backward pockets of Odisha.
In the wake of malnutrition deaths of 20 infants of the Juanga tribe at Nagada village in Jajpur district in 2016, the RTF campaigners started visiting villages inhabited by particularly vulnerable tribal groups in different parts of the State.
As per the findings shared by RTF members, Paudi Bhuyan tribes in four villages – Kiri, Keta, Kundula and Kunu – under Bonai subdivision of Sundargarh districts were suffering from hunger and malnutrition.
“Integrated Child Development Service programme, one of the most important food security programmes, was found non-existent in Paudi Bhuyan tribal villages. Anganwadi centres were non-functional. No ICDS authority has visited these villages in two decades. Children were never immunised. They were also not getting cooked food,” alleged Pradip Pradhan, convenor of RTF Campaign, who led the team.
Under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 21 tribals of these villages had worked in a road construction work in 2014, but they had not got their payments, said Mr. Pradhan.
Paudi Bhuyan, one of the most vulnerable and neglected tribes who reside on hilltops, should be mainstreamed and linked with government welfare programmes immediately, RTF campaigners recommended.
In Nagada village, which put Odisha to shame following reports of malnutrition deaths of children, situation remained unchanged despite the State government promising to have given utmost attention for its development.