Asking the state to act fast on the widespread malnutrition in Melghat, Amravati, the Bombay high court on Thursday said that it wanted to see results and not just paperwork.
A division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice DY Chandrachud, hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) on the prevalence of malnourished children in the tribal region, was informed by P Prashant, the newly appointed project officer for the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), that nearly 14,500 children in the area are malnourished.
The judges asked if the benefits of various state government schemes were reaching the intended beneficiaries.
“We want to see the results, not just paperwork,” the judges said, when Prashant informed them of the plans under the scheme. “The entire exercise (of hearing public interest litigations) going on for the last six-seven months is to ensure that policies are not just framed on paper but are also implemented.”
Informing the court of the alarming figures, Prashant said: “We propose to set up a Village Children Development Centre (VCDC), at each of the 396 Anganwadis in the tribal area.”
He also expressed helplessness in implementing an earlier court order, directing that cooked meals be provided to pregnant and lactating mothers and children aged between six months to six years, saying that not enough local groups had come forward for the job.
The judges insisted that the state machinery approach local Self Help Groups (SHG), after a petitioners, Poornima Upadhyay, from an NGO, pointed out that many SHGs in the area were willing to help.
When she pointed out the lack of specialist medical officers in the area, additional government pleader Rajesh Behere revealed that no specialists were coming forward, despite the remuneration being increased from Rs40,000 to Rs1 lakh, per month.