Dr. S.C. Jamir Date- 19.11.16
Hon’ble Governor, Odisha
Sub- Memorandum on “Child Death in Malkangiri”
In the backdrop of death of more than one hundred children in Malakangiri district due to outbreak of Japanese Encephalitis (?), a state-level consultation of Civil Society Groups was organised at Red Cross Bhawan, Bhubaneswar on 17.11.16 to debate and discourse about issues relating to incidence of child death and explore the opportunity of intervention of Civil Society to find out permanent solution to it in terms of checking child death in the district.
The meeting started with welcome address by Sri Manoj Jena, Human Rights Activist and Core-Committee Member of NGO Cell of NHRC followed by presentation of two Fact-finding Reports presented by Sri Pradip Pradhan, State Convener, Right to Food Campaign, Odisha and Member of Advisory Group of NHRC, and Sri Gouranga Mohapatra, Convener, Jana Swasthya Abhijan, Odisha Chapter who depicted child death due to malnutrition and hunger among the tribal children. after presentation, the house engulfed in debating the incidence of child death from various perspectives and citing various reasons such age-old negligence and callousness of the administration, huge corruption and irregularities in implementation of Govt. programme, absence of effective grievance redressal mechanism and monitoring mechanism at district level, deliberate attempt to suppress information about magnitude of child malnutrition, inaccesability to food security programme and denial of entitlement, bad-implementation of food security programme, huge food insecurity among the tribals, disastrous health situation, mal-administration, vacancy in the posts in different offices including District Hospital, PHC and CHC etc.
The prominent members who participated in the consultation were Sri Panchanan Kanungo, former Minister, Govt. of Odisha, Sri Rabi Das, Senior Journalist, Sri Pratap Sahu, Dalit Rights Activists Sri Ashok Mallik, Kalandi Mallik, Prof. Jantrana Parikhit, Madhumita Rath, Suresh Panigrahi, CPI(M), Social Activists like Ashok Das, Mrs. Usharani Behera, Ranjit Swain, Meghna Kinnar, Sri Sudhir Sabat and Sri Ranjit Patnaik from CACL, Sri Akhand, Human Rights Activist, Chandranath Dani, Prakash Nayak, Health expert and many others.
After deliberation, the house felt that it is state-sponsored murder of children in the district and unanimously passed the resolution expressing deep concern over child death and condemned negligence, lackadaisical attitude and failure of the State Govt. to check child death in the district. The house also agreed that the reason of the child death as cited by Govt. does not attribute only health hazard rather food insecurity and malnutrition among the children for years together. The house also resolved to appraise His Excellency to exercise his power as custodian of the tribals of Malkangiri coming under fifth schedule of the Constitution and take the following steps including direction to the State Govt. to check the innocent lives from grave disaster.
- Constitute Commission of Enquiry to find out the reason of child death in face of diversed views on it and fix responsibility for such holocaust.
- Appoint High-level expert Team to review the relevance of numerous development programme, manner of implementation of food security programme, whether the programme itself is defective or it is badly implemented with time-bound manner. The recommendation of the team should be properly implemented.
- Multi-stakeholder Grievance Redressal mechanism to be developed to hear the grievance of the people and address it within time limits and fixing responsibility on the erring officials.
- As reported, thousands of the tribal children are still suffering from malnutrition in the district who are in red zone. Massive drive needs to be undertaken to identify these children and special nutrition programme to be launched to improve their health condition.
- Transparency and accountability to be enforced in the implementation of development project and all food security programme.
- The huge vacancy in different category of Govt. posts should be filled up on war-footing way to revamp administrative mechanism to render service effectively and making it reach out at door step of the people.
Dr. Rina Roy