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Gujarat BJP chief says workers given 90-day target to end malnourishment in state

Party state president CR Paatil says he has appealed to cadres to take care of one malnourished child each in the state where 39 per cent of under-five children are chronically undernourished or stunted.

Written by Avinash Nair | Ahmedabad |
Updated: May 14, 2022 7:13:29 pm
Gujarat BJP president CR Paatil. (File)

The ruling BJP has set a target of eradicating malnutrition from Gujarat within three months, CR Paatil, president of the party’s state unit, said in Kutch on Saturday, urging party workers to take care of at least one malnourished child each.

“It is our target to ensure that there is not a single malnourished child in Gujarat in the next three months. I have appealed to all BJP workers to adopt at least one malnourished child, visit his or her home and provide nutritious food. One day a banana can be given, on another day green gram, chana, chikki or 100 or 200 grams of milk can be given to the child, with the party worker remaining present,” Paatil said.

Thirty-nine per cent of under-five children in the state are chronically undernourished or stunted. The state is among the bottom five states when it comes to under-five children suffering from stunted growth, wasting (low weight for height) and underweight.

“In our developed state, there is no place for malnourished children. It is our duty to ensure that children are healthy. The response from party workers so far has been very encouraging,” said Paatil, who was at Krantiguru Shyamji Krishna Verma Kutch University in Bhuj to inaugurate an IAS coaching centre and a Jain studies research centre.

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Addressing the Jain community at the event where 650 kits were given to malnourished children, Paatil said, “Just distributing 650 kits will not help. I appeal to all leaders of the Jain community to collect the address of the nearest malnourished child from the BJP party office and to take care of the child for 90 days. We want to drive away malnourishment from Gujarat.”

According to figures submitted in the Lok Sabha earlier this year, Gujarat is only behind Bihar in the number of underweight children. This is as per the National Family Health Survey 5 (2019-20) conducted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Similarly the state is only behind Maharashtra in the number of children suffering from wasting. When it comes to stunted children, Gujarat is only behind Meghalaya, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand.

Talking about an exhibition on Prime Minister Narendra Modi being held in Bhuj, Paatil said that Modi had visited Kutch around 94 times, both as prime minister and the state chief minister. “Photographs of his visits to Kutch are being put on display here,” he said. The exhibition is titled Modi in Kutch.

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