Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 30 (IANS): Five infants have died due to malnutrition and other health issues in Attapadi in Palakkad district in less than a week, giving the political fronts in Kerala a chance to score brownie points, indulge in blamegame and politicise the issue.
Despite the successive governments in Kerala pumping in over Rs 130 crore for the uplift of the tribal population in the past eight years, status of their development remains poor.
The Congress-led UDF has decided to send a delegation of its top leaders to the Attapadi tribal hamlets on December 6 to look into the matter. On Monday, it blamed the Vijayan government for failing to manage the situation and asked Vijayan to take concrete steps and not to give false hopes to the beleaguered.
BJP general secretary and former Union Minister D. Purandeswari asked Vijayan to explain where has all the money, that the Centre has given for the upliftment of the tribal community at Attapadi, gone. He warned the state government that if they do not act immediately, things might go out of hand.
State Health Minister Veena George said a probe by the state health department will be done to find out the reason for the deaths of infants.
"The Health and the SC/ST department will now work hand in glove at the area to see that proper health and medical care facilities are available at the various health centres in the area," said George.
Ever since the death of infants was reported in the past few days, one person who came under attack was the Speaker of the Assembly M.B. Rajesh, when he as the Lok Sabha member from Palakkad for two terms till 2019, had organised a protest for the tribal population, a few years back to "open the eyes" of the state and Central governments.
Rajesh lost the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, but in the April 6 Assembly polls defeated young sitting Congress legislator V.T. Balram from the Thrithala Assembly constituency in Palakkad district.
When Oommen Chandy was the Chief Minister (2011-16), a high-level delegation led by then Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh reached Attapadi along with Chandy and a huge delegation of officials and constituted a special task force for implementing a special package for the uplift of the tribal community and said Rs 50 crores would be provided to the Kudumbasree project.
Both the Centre and the State from time-to-time have been giving funds to the development of Attapadi and whenever there is an election round the corner, political parties make a beeline to the area and after that, it grabs headlines, when deaths gets reported.