KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Thursday observed that deprivation of basic needs and amenities to the Adivasi’s cannot be encouraged. A Division Bench comprising Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice Babu Mathew P Joseph made the observation on a petition filed by P D Joseph of Thrissur seeking a directive to the state government to ensure that the disbursement of grant provided by the Central and state governments to the Adivasis within the prescribed time.
The petitioner also sought a directive to conduct an inquiry and submit a report regarding the utilisation of fund allotted to Adivasis.The petitioner pointed out that though the government had appointed various commissions and launched schemes for the welfare of the Adivasis, the benefits have not reached them.
He cited the example of the Kottathara Tribal Hospital, which is the only hospital in the Attappadi area. The condition of the hospital is pathetic due to the lethargic attitude of the government. There is no life-saving medicines in the hospital and it is not equipped with adequate number of doctors and other staff. There are a large number of Adivasis staying in the area. The report of the National Rural Health Mission stated that 54 child deaths, attributed to malnutrition, were reported from Attappadi. In June 2013, the Central government had announced a special package of `250 crore for the welfare of Adivasis in the area. The tribal people who are living in remote villages have no transporting facility to reach the hospital.
In the female ward of the hospital more than 40 patients are admitted. So most of the patients are compelled to lie on the floor. Only one gynaecologist is available in the hospital. There is no life-saving system or ventilator in the hospital. There is also a delay in getting oxygen cylinders.
The authorities are not providing sufficient infrastructure and other facilities in the hospital. The SC/ST commissions have failed in discharging their duties to protect the interests of the Adivasis, the petitioner submitted.The petitioner also pointed out that a scheme was sanctioned by the government to provide `10 lakh to each Adivasi to purchase land for their own use, but it has not been implemented so far in Attappadi area.
“If the submissions are true and real on ground, it would indicate that it is an atrocious situation in the administration of the relief which is legitimately entitled to socially and economically marginalised sector of society,” the Bench observed.
However the government pleader submitted that in similar matters, the Bench headed by the Acting Chief Justice had granted time to file statement. Considering the submissions, the court posted the case with the other petitions pending before the Bench.