The state government has finally taken note of the children suffering from acute malnutrition in certain tribal pockets of Thane district.
Minister of state for tribal affairs Rajendra Gavit told HT on Thursday that the government had come up with an aid package for affected families and a compensation package for those families who had lost their children to malnutrition.
Hindustan Times was the first to report on July 25 about the death of an 11-month-old severely malnourished child in Nandgaon, Jawahar tehsil, about 110km from Mumbai, owing to alleged medical negligence. The report highlighted the problem tribal families in Jawahar, Mokhada and Vikramgad tehsils faced.
The district administration and health officials, who initially denied that children in the region were malnourished, later admitted that 28 malnourished children from the area had died in the last couple of months.
The issue had also rocked both houses of the state legislature in the recently concluded monsoon session, after which tribal affairs minister Madhukar Pichad had visited the affected areas. In an interview to HT last Sunday, he had promised prompt action to address the problems of malnutrition and unemployment in the tribal areas.
As per initiatives of the ministry, an immediate compensation of Rs 50,000 each will be paid to 23 families in which malnutrition deaths had occurred.
These families would also be provided with permanent (pucca) houses under the Sabri Adivasi Development Housing Scheme soon, said Gavit.
Moreover, during the four months of monsoon, the government will pay Rs 4,000 each to 1,593 families (including those from Palghar and Dahanu), who have been identified on the basis of having children under Grade 3 and Grade 4 malnourishment. The problem of malnutrition becomes acute during the monsoon as the tribal population, which is mostly engaged in manual labour at construction sites and brick kilns in Thane district, are jobless during this period.