Nagpur: A recently published report of the Ekatmik Bal Vikas Seva Yojana Prakalp has put the number of children who died of malnutrition in Maharashtra is 1236 in just one month of April this year.
Of this the number of new born children was 913 and children from one year to five years was 320.
And get this: the survey showed that almost 80,000 children are in the category of severely malnourished! Most of them will not survive if they are not given adequate diet in time.
As against these sorry figures the Integrated Child Development Project ICDS the Govt. body that is supposed to take care of this aspect has 9000 vacant posts.
366 projects do not have Child Development Officers so Superintendents, who have no time, become incharge.
Posts of Anganwadi workers lie vacant and the vacancies will only increase as present workers haven’t been receiving their salaries regularly and are on mass strike right now.
The tragedy is, that forget new schemes, even old ones being run by the previous government have been ditched.
A scheme of distributing packaged food boxes had been introduced, which has been stopped.
The reason behind all this is obviously lack of priority or concern for our hungry, mal nourished and dying children.
They mostly live in the back of beyond anyway. Most of these deaths are of tribal children living in areas like Melghat in Vidarbha and Palghar, Vasai etc in Western Maharashtra.
These are the many districts of the state where tribals still live: Thane, Pune, Nashik, Dhule, Nandurbar, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar, Nanded, Amravati, Yeotmal, Gadchiroli and Chandrapur. This is called the Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP) area .
Tribals such as Bhil, Korku, Kolam and Warli which are mostly sub castes of prevalant Gond tribes. Irony is this proud tribe of Gonds ruled over many parts of Central India once, today they are reduced to abject poverty and penury.
But who cares?
Our governments and policy makers are busy planning mega projects to give us fast bullet trains between Ahmedabad and Mumbai ( the tickets for which will be higher than Air tickets at @ 5000/ !!) Building statues of Sardar Patel and Shivaji Maharaj, who if alive today, would have opposed such moves tooth and nail… and super highways, freeways…flyovers… cutting down pristine forests. Forests which co incidentally are homes for the suffering tribal populace. Adding insult to injury!
As a caustic remark on social media puts it – who benefits from this 1.1 lakh crore (US$17 billion) project?
The sad fact is that we are going in for such extravagance when the Human Index figures for Gujarat are even lower than that of Maharashtra!
But may be caring for needy and poor and sick and old is not on the priority of our present governments at all.
When they said ‘achche din ayenge’ they meant… exactly When?? Will someone explain?!