Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today asked the Maharashtra government if any expert agency has conducted a scientific study in Melghat region of Vidarbha and other tribal areas of the state to tackle the issue of malnutrition deaths and illnesses. A division bench headed by Justice A S Oka was hearing a bunch of Public Interest Litigations (PILs) highlighting the rise in malnutrition deaths and illnesses among those living in the tribal belt of the state especially Melghat region.
The bench today sought to know from additional government pleader Neha Bhide if any overall study was carried out in the concerned areas to understand the problem and come out with suggestions. “We need an independent scientific study to be carried out by an expert agency. Institutions like the IIT or TISS could be appointed and their expert team could visit the places and understand the issue – health and nutrition wise – and suggest what could be done,” Justice Oka said.
One of the petitioners, Purnima Upadhyay, today pointed out to the court that the problem of malnutrition was now also affecting adults. “People who were malnourished as children are now facing health issues and are dying even before they reach the age of 50. The government needs to frame a policy to address the issue,” Upadhyay said.
The bench posted the petitions for further hearing on September 11. Different benches of the high court have passed several orders on the issue over the last two years, directing the state government to ensure those in the tribal areas in the state get adequate nutrition, health care, sanitation, and education facilities.