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Opposition sharpens attack against Odisha govt after 19 children die of malnutrition

Bhubaneswar: Sharpening their attack following the death of 19 tribal children due to alleged malnutrition in Jajpur, opposition parties in Odisha on Thursday said the incidents have proved the state government's failure.

The parties have also sought the governor's intervention. A BJP delegation met Governor S C Jamir and submitted a memorandum drawing his attention to the "poor state" of women and children in Nagada village in the mineral-rich district.

 Opposition sharpens attack against Odisha govt after 19 children die of malnutrition

Representational image. Reuters

Stating that a fact-finding team of BJP has visited Nagada, party state-unit president Basaant Panda said that 19 deaths in a span of three months was not only a case of health hazard but also a case of chronic hunger among Juang tribals.

The memorandum alleged that Nagada was left out of development projects of the state government for years and that many families in the village have not been provided ration cards under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) by the state government.

The BJP in its memorandum has said that under the Antodaya Anna Yojana all Juang families should get 35 kg rice each per month, but most families are yet to be covered, he said adding that Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) had not been implemented at Nagada and no Anganwadi centre exists there.

The governor's intervention was sought as the Constitution vested enormous powers to the post to protect interests of the people in general and tribals of the state in particular.

The memorandum said no employment generation programme under the NREGA has been undertaken in the village since the inception of the scheme and there is no government school in the village and its children are deprived of getting free education guaranteed under the Right to Education Act.

As there is no school, the children are deprived of mid-day meals, it said.

Panda and BJP state unit vice-president Samir Mohanty hit out at Odisha women and child development minister Usha Devi for saying a lack of awareness among people was the reason for the death of so many children.

"The minister's' statement yesterday that there is no concept of family planning in Nagada village and that some families in the village have 8-9 children showed that the government was insensitive to the issue," they added.

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Updated Date: Jul 21, 2016 21:18:57 IST