Tuesday, December 26, 2006

State Government wakes up to child malnutrition death

Pioneer December 26, 2006
Staff Reporter | Bhopal

Taking action on the basis of a news report 'Child dies of malnutrition' published in The Pioneer on December 22, Madhya Pradesh Chief Secretary Rakesh Sahani sought clarification from Labour Commissioner Rajneesh Vaishya on Monday.

Surprisingly, the earlier clarification report sent by Vaishya on December 22 kept on contending that Bharat Adivasi, whose 2.5 year-old child Chhotu died of malnutrition at the Government hospital in Gwalior on December 19, did not belong to Gwalior district and was not a bonded labourer. The report, which was sent to The Pioneer, puts further that the child died of tuberculosis. However, medical experts had admitted that the child died of malnutrition and the same was quite visible on the body and face of the victim.

Vaishya during a telephonic conversation reiterated the same statement earlier given and maintained the stand of Assistant Labour commissioner CS Dixit, who had asserted that they were not responsible for the incident as the family belonged to another district. The report tells that all the labourers have been asked to return to their home district.

However, Vaishya admitted that a humanitarian approach to child's condition could have saved his life. "If the Labour Department, instead of being apathetic to the whole matter and contending that it was not their cup of tea, had co-coordinated with the district administration and the Health department, the situation could have saved," he admitted.

Vaishya further admitted that it was not just the case of a victim being bonded labour, but was a question of child who was exposed to administrative failure during the time of crisis.The clarification report says that after the instructions of MP High Court on December 14, a relief fund of Rs 10,000 was released by Red Cross society of district administration, though the Assistant Labour Commissioner CS Dixit on December 22 had stated that he could not locate child's father in the Kamlaraja hospital and that was why the relief could not reach the victim.

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