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Malnutrition deaths in MP: Scindia writes to Maneka Gandhi, demands investigation by a Central government team

Scindia said he had written a letter to her on September 14, September 21 and November 18, to draw her attention towards the malnutrition deaths in Sheopur

bhopal Updated: Jan 28, 2017 22:51 IST
Hindustan Times
jyotiraditya scindia,maneka gandhi,malnutrition
Amritsar, India – January 25, 2017: Congress Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha Jyotiraditya Scindia (R) addressing a press conference at District congress committee Urban office, Amritsar on Wednesday, January 25, 2017. (Photo by Sameer Sehgal/Hindustan Times)(File photo)

Bhopal: Congress party chief whip in the Lok Sabha and Guna MP Jyotiraditya Scindia has written a letter to the union minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi, expressing his anguish that despite writing to her thrice during the last four months and meeting her personally, there has been no action on the malnutrition deaths in Sheopur district.

Scindia urged Maneka Gandhi to send a special team of central government to investigate the malnutrition deaths in Sheopur and issue necessary directions to the state government.

Scindia said he had written a letter to her on September 14, September 21 and November 18, to draw her attention towards the malnutrition deaths in Sheopur.

Scindia said when he met Maneka Gandhi personally, he had made some suggestions including an arrangement of the best possible health care, nutritious food like food packets for malnourished children and action against the officials responsible for the deaths.

“You had assured me that a special team from Centre will be sent to MP and you will also write a letter to the chief minister in this regard. Expressing deep sensitivity towards deaths due to malnourishment in Sheopur, you had assured me that your ministry will take appropriate action and accordingly inform me. But despite your assurance, I have not received any information so far”, the letter says.

In the letter, Scindia said in the last four months there was no improvement in the situation (in Sheopur).

“In September and October 2016, 116 children died due to malnutrition. Instead of showing decline, the malnutrition in the district is increasing consistently. The number of malnourished children, which was 22,708 in October 2016, has increased to 24,448 in December 2016. Because of no action in the last four months, the number of malnourished children has soared by 1740 in just two months. Despite government spending Rs 2.5 crore, the number of malnourished children has increased”, Scindia says in his letter.

“I request you to treat this situation as an epidemic and take action at the earliest. Think over the suggestions I had given and implement them. I hope you will inform me about the action taken”, the letter says.

Interestingly, in the winter session of the state assembly last month, the MP government maintained there had been no deaths due to malnutrition in the Gwalior division and Sheopur district during the last three years.

The reply of the government surprised many as Sheopur district had allegedly reported 116 malnutrition deaths since August last year according to media reports, prompting National Human Rights Commission to issue a notice to the chief secretary Madhya Pradesh in September.

According to the latest data, MP stands second in the context of malnourishment in the entire nation with Bihar topping the list. Over 42 % of the children under 5 years in the state are stunted (height for age), 25.8 % are wasted (weight for height) and 42.8 % are underweight (weight for age), according to health indicators released last year.

First Published: Jan 28, 2017 22:51 IST