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Sharmili Mallick

Sundargarh: The death of 19 children due to malnutrition at Nagada village in Odisha’s Jajpur district in July, 2016 had evoked outrage not only in the State but across the country and the world at large.

However, it seems the government has learnt little from the horrors and pain of hunger and poverty that still haunts people residing in the far-flung hamlets of Odisha’s tribal belt.

Recently another such pitiable instance of the acute poverty and deprivation in the State came to the fore when the video of a malnourished child licking, what appeared to be, leftover food from a discarded disposable plate in the Gonua mines under Malda gram panchayat in Koida block of Sundargarh district went viral.

The purported video nevertheless, exposes the reality of the food security programmes and plethora of schemes that the government claim to have launched for poverty elevation and development of women and children in the State.

The boy has been identified as Manoranjan, the younger son of Rabana Munda of Tatugothapada village, located in the vicinity of the iron ore mine. Rabana’s wife died a couple of years ago and he has two more children- Ranjan and Malati. Rabana is a daily wage worker and looks after his children himself.

The video of the child licking the leftover food from the disposed off plate has reportedly been going viral on the social media since the last two days.

As per reports, some locals had organised a feast near the mines and discarded the plates there. Manoranjan who looks starved, malnourished and weak could be seen licking the plate in the viral video.

When asked, Rabana said he was unaware of the incident. “He is my child and I had gone outside for some work. Some people had organised a feast in the nearby place,” he added.

In her reaction to the video, the Block Development Officer (BDO) at Koida, Pallavi Raj said, “I had directed a team to visit the village and they have prepared an enquiry report. People in the village are already receiving benefits under government welfare schemes. We will inform the District Child Protection Unit to take appropriate steps for the treatment and safety of the child,” she added.


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