Mumbai: Bombay High Court on Monday expressed dismay at "the casual approach" of Maharashtra government in addressing the malnutrition problem and directed it to formulate a policy for appointment of IAS officers as Project Officers in tribal areas.
Division bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Amjad Sayed was hearing a petition filed by Purnima Upadhyay, seeking implementation of state as well as Central schemes to curb malnutrition in Melghat area of Maharashtra.
The court was today informed that the posts of Project Officer and Additional Tribal Commissioner in Amravati district (where Melghat is situated) were vacant for a year.
"Additional Tribal Commissioner is the key person to decide on financial matters....Posts of Project Officer and Additional Tribal Commissioner are crucial for implementation of social welfare schemes," the court noted.
"Filling up of such posts is critical to the welfare of the tribal population. We are distressed at the casual approach of the state government in addressing such issues which are important to the treatment of social problems like malnutrition and infant mortality," Justice Chandrachud said.
The court said a consistent policy must be framed and implemented by the state government to fill up these posts.
"The work of a project officer needs dedicated attention which is only possible if a young and dynamic IAS officer is assigned the job. We direct the government to form a policy within two months," the court said.
The bench was also informed that between April 2012 to January this year, 1,668 children were admitted at the child treatment centres across the state, out of which only 57 per cent of the children showed improvement.
The bench has also directed the Rajmata Jijau Mother-Child Health & Nutrition Mission to undertake a comprehensive study of the issue and submit its report to the High Court and government within two months.
The matter has been posted for hearing on June 19.