THE BOMBAY High Court recently requested a detailed report from the Nandurbar District Collector on the death of 86 children in the tribal belt due to malnutrition and lack of medical facilities since January.
Seeking effective redress for the concerns of the tribal people, including access to medical facilities, the High Court referred to Dashrath Manjhi, the ‘mountain man’ of Bihar, who fought his way across a mound using a hammer and chisel to help people in his village access roads and hospitals.
A divisional bench consisting of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik heard a slew of pleas, including those filed by activists Rajendra Burma and Bandu Sampatrao Sane, on malnutrition among children in Melghat.
On Wednesday, worrying about an “unfortunate incident” of a woman from Palghar district who recently lost her twins within 24 hours of their birth due to a delay in reaching the medical center, the bench asked the government of Maharashtra to take immediate action to make health facilities accessible to pregnant women and infants in tribal areas. The detailed order was made available on Saturday.
While deliberating on this ordinance, the bench referred to the inspiring life story of Shri Dashrath Manjhi, popularly known as “Mountain Man”.
“We read that Manjhi single-handedly started digging a path in the mountain using only a hammer and chisel due to an unfortunate incident that happened in his life. The government finally recognized his efforts and then went out of their way to complete the task that Manjhi single-handedly undertook for the development of the village for the availability of the hospital and the road,” he said .
Minister holds meeting on road conditions and health services in Palghar
Following reports of lack of passable roads in remote areas of Palghar district, Tribal Development Minister Dr. Vijaykumar Gavit said on Sunday that pucca roads would be constructed in these areas. Gavit held a review meeting with senior district officials, including collector Govind Bodke. The minister traveled to the district weeks after news broke of a woman who lost her babies after being carried on a makeshift stretcher to a primary health care center to give birth due to lack of appropriate roads. Speaking to reporters, Gavit said to make health services more efficient, vacancies in the health department will soon be filled. (PTI)
The bench also expressed displeasure that while plans and measures are in place to address concerns in the tribal areas, the effect of these is not seen at ground level. The HC said that if there is a lack of coordination between implementing agencies preventing tribals from enjoying the benefits of the programs, the respective heads of relevant departments should come together and provide a roadmap to ensure that programs and measures do not just remain on paper.
The court directed the state government to consider and take appropriate action on the suggestions made by the petitioners regarding immediate action taken to address the concerns. Suggestions made by the petitioner, Sane, also included increasing the staff and infrastructure of Public Health Centers (PHCs) to care for all patients, coordination between implementing agencies and improving quality. and the amount of food provided to pregnant women and children. between zero and six years.
Calling on the state government to implement the measures immediately, the bench announced a new hearing on the case for September 12.