Demanding information on projects that will be implemented under the integrated tribal development scheme during the financial year, the Bombay high court on Thursday directed the state government to appoint an officer either from the IAS or IFS cadre as project officer for the scheme in Melghat, Amravati, within a week.
Despite 39 deaths of tribal children in the region owing to malnutrition, the post of project officer — responsible for implementation of the comprehensive scheme — has been lying vacant for more than two years.
The division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice DY Chandrachud was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by social activist Purnima Uphadyay of Khoj, a non-government organisation (NGO). The PIL raised concerns about the abrupt halting of several public health programmes, which were on for several years.
Additional government pleader, Vinay Sonpal, informed the court that eight child treatment centres have been set up in malnutrition-hit Dharni and Chikhaldhara tehsils, and nearly 60 malnourished children have been admitted in the centres for the 21-day special care course.
The court, however, expressed displeasure over the efforts. As one of the activists pointed out that contrary to the scheme’s guarantee of 100 days of work, hardly 15 days of work is offered to the tribals annually, the court directed the state government to furnish information about the implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) in Melghat region.