The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday issued a notice to Maharashtra government, giving it four weeks to submit a report on deaths of children allegedly due to malnutrition in Palghar district. The NHRC, in a statement issued in Mumbai, said it has taken suo motu cognisance of media reports that 600 children have died allegedly due to malnutrition in Palghar this year. The worst affected areas are Mokhada, Jawhar, Wada and Vikramgadh talukas in the district, it observed.
The notice issued to the Chief Secretary observed that the state authorities are required to be conscious towards the plight of the residents, especially the children and elderly persons. “Such a huge number of deaths of the children, in a year amount to violation of right to life and health of the poor victim,” it said.
“The excerpts of the news stories reveal that the areas having tribal population are the most vulnerable who are already affected by poverty, illiteracy and lack of awareness towards government welfare and healthcare schemes,” it said. State Tribal Affairs Minister Vishnu Savra, who is also the Guardian Minister of Palghar district, had recently faced the anger of tribal people when he went there to visit the family of a child who had died allegedly due to malnutrition.
Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, taking serious cognisance of the issue, had then directed the state government to frame a policy to prevent deaths due to malnutrition.