Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao on Wednesday expressed discontent over the rising number of malnutrition cases in many districts including Palghar, located around 87kms north of Mumbai.
He even directed various government departments to have better coordination between them and a comprehensive plan to tackle the menace by convergence of welfare schemes.
This is probably the first time when the Governor called for a special meeting on the issue in the backdrop of media reports on the rising number of malnutrition cases. Consequently, all the three concerned ministers — Pankaja Munde (women and child development minister ), Vishnu Savara (tribal welfare minister) and Dr Deepak Sawant (public health minister) declared a joint visit on September 21 to tribal dominated Mokhada tehsil in Palghar district, infamous for malnutrition cases.
The governor was not happy with the spurt in malnutrition cases and expressed his displeasure. He was disturbed with the lack of coordination among concerned departments and their failure to track pregnant women. This was after departments expressed difficulties in tracking pregnant women, apprising the governor that they migrate for a few months during pregnancy, said sources present at the meet.
“The government must reach out to every single child suffering from malnutrition,” the governor said while convening the meet. He then asked the ministers to make a comprehensive plan that would include long term and short term measures to tackle malnutrition.
Under Schedule 5 of the Indian Constitution, the governor can direct government related to affairs of tribal areas. He is answerable to the President for the same and thus the meeting was convened, sources at the Raj Bhavan said.
The women and child development minister told the governor that a meeting of all concerned ministers, secretaries, district collectors and CEOs of tribal districts will be convened on September 20 and all three ministers will pay a joint visit to Mokhada to assess the situation.
She also assured him of a comprehensive plan that would be placed after obtaining the chief minister’s approval.
Mokhada is struggling with acute child malnutrition as around 28 per cent children found severely underweight at recent health camps.
Nearly 342 male and 345 female children up to the age of six were examined at the camps by doctors.
Of them, 52 were found to be suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and 162 from moderate acute malnutrition (MAM). Besides, 189 children were diagnosed to be severely underweight, it is said.
It came to light after public health minister Dr Deepak Sawant visited the camps held at five villages in Mokhada.