E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: More than 2,600 children under 6 years of age—that’s two-thousand-six-hundred children under six years of age—are reported to have died of malnutrition in Raichur district over the past two years as per data provided by the women and child welfare department.
The irony couldn’t have been more stark or striking: hot and arid Raichur is, after all, home for India’s only active goldmine, Hutti, in Lingasugar taluk. Another 4,500 children are reported to be on their deathbed due to malnutrition in Deoburg and Manvi taluks of Raichur.
“The entire system has collapsed. It has now become a sociopolitical and economic issue. Karnataka claims to be a progressive state but look at what is happening in these villages,” Dr Akhila Vasan, a child healthcare expert and worker, has been quoted as saying.
Yet, the response of the State government, whose leading figures utter the words “governance” and “development agenda” like a stuck record, is stunning to be believed.
B.S. Yediyurappa, who took a chopper to every known and unknown temple and mutt to save himself from the long arm of the law, and his BJP colleagues who are cooling their heels in Parappana Agrahara, never found time to visit these villages and take effective steps.
The minister for child and women’s welfare C.C. Patil, who was directed by new chief minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda to visit the district by September 26, has still not found the time, and it is already October 27.
The minister for medical education, S.A. Ramadas, who was busy splurging taxpayers’ money and hogging all the limelight during Dasara, hasn’t heard of this or hasn’t been bothered enough to respond. Leave alone visiting the affected villages, he hasn’t stepped out of Mysore, fearing he might be upstaged by his friend-turned-foe–cum-colleague Shobha Karandlaje.
And, needles to say, the State’s health minister has been missing in action. So, who was the State’s health minister under Yediyurappa the last two years? B. Sriramulu.
Aha, that explains everything.
Graphics: courtesy Mail Today and Frontline
External reading: Hard to follow