Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao rapped the tribal development department on Wednesday for the deaths of tribal students and the lack of basic facilities at government-aided ashramshalas — schools cum hostels — being run in tribal areas. The governor expressed shock after the technical committee headed by Dr Subhash Salunkhe, former director general of health services, concluded in its report that 793 of the 1,077 deaths in ashramashalas, which took place in the past 10 years, could have been prevented.
It its 86-page report, the committee found a long gap between the evening meals and breakfast served to the students, which led to them falling ill. The report noted the high potential risk of sexual harassment at these schools. The report noted that urine pregnancy tests and menstrual records are not the best means of preventing such harassment.
The governor asked the tribal development department secretary to take immediate steps to ensure that the time between two meals be reduced. He asked that the 108 helpline be activated in these schools so emergency medical services can be made available to students, said a senior official present at the meet.
The governor directed the formation of the 12-member committee to suggest remedies to prevent the increasing deaths in such ashramshalas. The governor suggested that a team of women IPS officers visit these schools to inspire female students.
The report recommends the appointment of an auxillary nurse midwife) at all the schools to provide medical aid to the students and to counsel the girls.
The governor will review the progress made after three weeks.
- The state is purchasing two new cars worth ₹40 lakh to be reserved for distinguished visitors to Palghar, which made news for its malnutrition-related deaths last month
- The cars will be used by guardian minister of the district, Vishnu Savra, and other ministers when they visit Palghar
- The move drew criticism from some quarters
- However, officials clarified that Palghar is a newly-carved district and buying cars for distinguished visitors is part of the process.