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Bombay HC to order steps to curb malnutrition deaths
July 07, 2004 23:41 IST
The Bombay high court today asked the Maharashtra government to furnish details of all possible steps, including an increase in budgetary provisions, to tackle the deaths of children, mostly in tribal areas, on account of malnutrition. Based on the state government's response, the high court will give specific directions tomorrow on tackling the crisis.
Acting Chief Justice A P Shah had yesterday asked Maharashtra's Director of Health Subhash Salunkhe to submit a report on the situation along with recommendations to tackle it.
Submitting the report today, Dr Salunkhe said 1,041 children had died over the last two months on account of various reasons like typhoid, pneumonia, and snakebite, besides malnutrition.
Of these, 807 deaths took place in five districts of Thane, Nasik, Amravati, Nandurbar and Gadchiroli while others were reported from Raigad, Dhule, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar, Pune, Nanded, Yavatmal, Gondia, Nagpur and Chandrapur.
Dr Salunkhe said the state government had taken various steps to tackle the situation, but did not achieve "spectacular success". He recommended an increase in the budgetary provision for development of the tribal belt to prevent such deaths and more coordination in implementing various government schemes in these regions.
There is a need to set up a nodal authority to carry out with accountability various schemes for tribal development as they come under various departments, he said.
A division bench comprising Justice Shah and Justice Shailendra Kamdar told the state government that there should be an increase of at least 50 per cent in the budgetary provision to tackle the situation.
The bench also suggested the constitution of a committee consisting of experts for the implementation of tribal schemes at the state level and monitoring committees at the local level.
Public prosecutor Jyoti Pawar said the government could give an assurance on increasing the budgetary provision only after consultations with the chief secretary and the finance secretary.
The bench therefore decided to give specific directions to the state government only after listening to the government's stand tomorrow.
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