Let no child die of malnutrition: Bombay HC | Mumbai News – Times of India


MUMBAI: Let no more children die due to malnutrition in Maharashtra’s tribal areas, said the Bombay high court on Monday, warning it will take a serious view of it. The high court has told the state government to take immediate measures to improve the situation.
“From today till the next date if we find any child has died, we’ll hold your health secretary responsible… The health secretary should rise to the occasion,” said a bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni while hearing a 2007 PIL on malnutrition deaths in 11 tribal districts, including in Melghat.
Advocate Jugalkishore Gilda, for a petitioner, said there have been malnutrition deaths since 1992 and certain directions were issued by HC. In 2007, the PIL was filed again.
Gilda said in November 2018, the HC had passed an order in respect of grants by the Central government.
Gilda said no audit has been done and the situation has not improved. Children, expectant mothers and those post-delivery continue to die due to malnutrition and lack of medical facilities.
“For areas like Dharni and Melghat, the nearest hospital is 130km through the Ghat section and takes 2.5 hours (to reach),’’ said Gilda.
He said in health, the Niti Aayog has placed Maharashtra even below Bihar.
Melghat-based activist Bandu Sane said 73 children have died between April and July 2021 and more than 11,000 are underweight. He said specialized doctors are not available on the field. “Don’t give us bullet trains and airports but bus depots and pediatricians,’’ he urged.
State advocate Neha Bhide said continuous measures are taken to comply with the court’s orders. “If your machinery is so well-equipped, why 73 deaths took place and children are dying till date?” said Justice Kulkarni.
Since the bench was hearing this matter for the first time, it sought details from the petitioners on an affidavit. The judges also asked the state to come with its “facts and figures” and that the advocate general would appear in the matter.
“It is a serious matter. We’ll make a direction to send doctors, including paediatricians and gynaecologists, to all tribal districts. We want the situation to improve from tomorrow,” said the Chief Justice, adding, “we’ll monitor the matter”.
The judges also said they want the latest position on the funds received from the Centre. “What you have done to monitor funds reaching them? How you are monitoring the situation and still deaths are occurring?’’ said Justice Kulkarni.
The matter will be heard after two weeks.

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