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Legal

Updated on: Monday, December 20, 2021, 10:57 PM IST

FPJ Legal | Malnutrition in Melghat: State ordered to come up with comprehensive plan to deal with continued deaths of children, women in tribal regions

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Observing that the tribal people must be brought into the mainstream health sector, the Bombay High Court on Monday ordered the Maharashtra government to come up with a short term and also a long term plan to tackle the issue of continued deaths of small children due to malnutrition in Melghat, a major tribal belt of the state.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Makarand Karnik was hearing a bunch of public interest litigations (PILs) highlighting the high numbers of deaths of children, pregnant women and lactating mothers in Melghat and nearby tribal regions due to malnutrition.

On Monday, senior IPS officer Dr Chhering Dorje, who was earlier ordered to visit the tribal region in Melghat and prepare his report, submitted his detailed report before the bench. The report revolved around the problems faced by the tribal people living in these areas.

Through this report, Dorje sought for a comprehensive programme to address the issue of malnutrition among pregnant and lactating women and children living in the tribal regions of the state.

"There is reluctance and hesitation on the part of the tribal people to go to the government health centres due to their age old customs and beliefs," Dorje told the court.

The senior officer, further informed the bench that when these people get unwell, most of them prefer going to the Tantriks. He said these people prefer medical help only when their condition worsens.

At this, the bench said that it is high time that people living in these regions start letting go of this reluctance. "These persons may have customs, traditions and beliefs but when the question is about their health then they will have to join the mainstream health system," the bench observed.

The judges accordingly ordered the state authorities to peruse the report submitted by Dorge and take corrective steps by coming up with both short and long term plans.

The judges while posting the matter for further hearing till January 3, said the authorities should act upon this report and "not let it gather dust."

"We hope and trust that the state makes an endeavor to come up with a short term plan for the health and welfare of the tribals living in the state," the judges opined, while adjourning the matter.

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Published on: Monday, December 20, 2021, 10:57 PM IST
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