The Bombay High Court Monday told the Maharashtra government to strive towards being the first as far as eradication of malnutrition is concerned rather than boasting about being ranked third among states in this endeavour.
A division bench of Justices A S Oka and M S Sonak said this (malnutrition eradication) was not a competition between states.
The bench was hearing a bunch of Public Interest Litigations (PILs) highlighting the rise in malnutrition deaths and illnesses among those living in Maharashtra’s tribal belt, especially Melghat region.
Melghat is a predominantly tribal hilly region in Amravati district of the state.
The court sought to know if the government has, so far, carried out any scientific study to understand the issue and take remedial measures.
“Has any scientific study been carried out to ascertain what the requirements in the area are? What kind of medical specialists are required? What infrastructure is needed?” Justice Oka asked.
Justice Oka asked the government about the infrastructure that had been put in place to address the problem of malnutrition which has existed in this region for the past two decades.
The bench also wanted know from the state how many paediatricians and gynaecologists had been appointed in the tribal regions of the state.
The court directed the principal secretary of Maharashtra Public Health department to appear before it on Tuesday to answer the court’s questions.
Different benches of the high court have passed several orders on the issue in the last two years, directing the state government to ensure those living in tribal areas get adequate nutrition, health care, sanitation, and education facilities.