Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Sep 12:
The Orissa High Court today issued notices to Odisha government and Centre over malnutrition deaths in Nagada village in Jajpur district where at least 19 infants had died.
Admitting a PIL, a division bench comprising Justice Vipin Saran and Justice BR Sadangi served notices on Odisha and Union governments and directed to reply within three weeks.
In the PIL filed by Nationalist Lawyers Forum joint secretary Tapas Kumar Dwivedi, the petitioner cited that the officials have failed to implement the welfare schemes launched by state and Central government in the tribal-dominated areas. Due to this, the infants and poor people are dying. At least 19 children had died in Nagada village under Sukinda block in Jajpur district due to malnutrition.
The tribal hamlet is deprived of basic facilities like drinking water, electricity, education, health services and communication facilities. Children are dying due to intake of contaminated water and lack of medical facilities. People are being bereft of their basic rights, the petitioner said.
The state government has spent Rs 2200 crore in the last three years for eradication of malnutrition for which half of the aid has been provided by Centre. The Nagada infant deaths have exposed the reality which speaks volumes of its utilization. Agency like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) should probe how the money has been spent. Notably, as many as 35 schemes have been launched by the state and Centre for the welfare of the people. However, it has not reached to the people in the areas like Nagada, he added.
Water and air pollution due to mining activities in the area has affected the people of Nagada. The district administration woke up after media reports on Nagada. However, there has been little impact on the ground. Administrative inefficiency is one of the reasons behind underdevelopment in the area. In view of this, stringent action should be initiated against the officials, he urged.
Chief Secretary, Health Secretary, Jajpur District Collector, Union Health Secretary, Union Rural Development Secretary and CBI have been made parties to the case.