Thiruvananthapuram | Taking a serious view of recurring child deaths and malnutrition reported from tribal settlements in Attappady in Palakkad district, Kerala government today took urgent steps to address it and assigned a civil servant to co-ordinate work of government agencies and departments to bring relief to people in affected settlements. The decision was taken by the state cabinet based on the report of a ministerial sub-committee which visited Attappdy two days back to review of the situation, Information Minister K C Joseph told reporters.
As many as 13 infants have died from tribal settlements since January this year, while unofficial figures put it upto 18. Health problems caused by malnutrition and undernourishment of mothers was found to be the reason for most deaths. P B Nooh, Sub-Collector in Palakkad district, had been asked to co-ordinate works of different agencies, including the health department, to ensure that the programmes are implemented successfully.
The official would also coordinate with MP, MLA and other elected representatives of the area by eliciting their views regularly. Steps would be taken to ensure regular supply of ragi to the tribal families as it is the staple food preferred by them instead of rice. They would also be guaranteed 200 days of work a year under the rural job guarantee scheme relaxing the general norm that a family should get no more than 100 days’ job a year.
The community kitchens would be activated, anganwadis given required facilities and hospitals and Primary Health Centres would be given regular supply of necessary medicines. Joseph said though the government took the situation seriously, the media had tended to hype the scenario. Last year, there were 31 infant deaths whereas this year it had come down to 13 so far.
The problems of Attappady was not something that happened suddenly. The tribals in the area have been facing these problems for quite some time. But we have taken all possible measures to help them, Joseph said. The minister also appealed to Lok Sabha member M B Rajesh of CPI(M) to call off his indefinite fast in Palakkad in view of the measures taken by the government.
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