Dharmendra Pradhan for fact-finding team to probe Odisha children deaths

Bhubaneswar: Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has urged three of his Union cabinet colleagues to send a fact-finding team to ascertain the factors that have led to the death of 19 children in a village in Jajpur district.

Pradhan wrote three separate letters to Health Minister J.P. Nadda, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi and Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram seeking teams from their ministries go to Nagada village, where 19 children died due to malnutrition in last three months.

It is reported that not less than 19 kids have died in a short span of few months. On the spot visits have also indicated that the deaths were due to severe malnutrition and lack of health care in the locality, he said.

The village is inhabited by primitive Juang tribal community.

“Despite National Food Security Act being in force, hunger deaths in the mineral rich and industrially progressive district is shocking. It has come to light that the village has been left out of all developmental schemes. Exclusion of tribals from the NFS Act, ICDS programme and MNREGA have led to increased impoverishment,” said Pradhan.

He said though the village is inhabited by tribals, they have not been allotted forest land under the Forest Rights Act.

“There is no road connectivity to Nagada village. The tribals use forest track and cover 10 km by walking to get any service or benefit available under various scheme,” said the Minister.

He said it is a matter of regret that 45,536 children in Odisha are suffering from acute malnutrition out of which 894 are from Jajpur.