The government’s counsel said that she was unaware of the NGOs objections and sought time to file replies to the allegations.
Mumbai: Expressing concerns over malnutrition-related deaths in Melghat, activists complained to the Bombay high court that no action has been taken by authorities to curb the same among children aged 0-5 years in the region, despite giving presentations on the same to the court a couple of months back. The court has asked the authorities to submit reply within two weeks.
A division bench of Justices V.M. Kanade and C.V. Bhadang was hearing the public interest litigation filed by Dr Rajendra Burma regarding the plight of tribal areas where malnutrition deaths among infants was very high. The court had held a special hearing on March 1 wherein various government authorities and NGOs working in the area were present.
The authorities had made presentations on the measures taken to curb and address the malnutrition deaths issue. The court had asked the NGOs present, to file replies in light of the presentations.
On Wednesday, while referring to government statistics for the period of April 2016—February 2017 of Melghat area, the NGOs pointed out that the number of deaths had risen contrary to the government’s claims and the presentations were an eyewash.
Purnima Upadhay of NGO Khoj said, “The statistics show that in 11 months the number of deaths in children in the age group of 0-5 is 485 while the number of still born cases are 172. These are statistics of Melghat alone, the number would be higher if one takes cases from other regions too.”
She further pointed out that no official took the trouble to visit the affected areas and none of the assurances given to the court through the presentation were being implemented. She also informed that the government websites to address the malnutrition issue were non-functional.
The government’s counsel said that she was unaware of the NGOs objections and sought time to file replies to the allegations. The court allowed the same and gave them two weeks keeping the matter for hearing on May 3.