Plea by young lawyer prompts court to question state about lack of health infrastructure in remote tribal hamlet in Gadchiroli

The Indian Express | 5 days ago | 05-08-2022 | 03:45 am

Plea by young lawyer prompts court to question state about lack of health infrastructure in remote tribal hamlet in Gadchiroli

Nearly 1,000 km from Mumbai, a small hamlet in the tribal-dominated Gadchiroli district, Vengnur, gets cut off from the rest of the world every year during monsoon, when the nearby Dina Dam overflows. Lack of medical care for months is among the many problems the residents face as they have no way to access healthcare when the dam overflows.It was only in June this year that the Bombay High Court’s Nagpur Bench took cognizance of the plight of the tribal residents of the hamlet and issued notice to the state regarding “violation of fundamental rights” of the tribal residents. The court also appointed an independent advocate to furnish information in response to complaints of unavailability of health infrastructure and unmanned boats in tribal Vengnur Gat gram panchayat, which constitutes four villages – Vengnur, Padkotola, Adangepalli, and Surgaon.The court’s intervention came after a 23-year-old lawyer from the area, Bodhi Ramteke, wrote a petition to the court alleging that the state was violating the fundamental rights of local residents by not providing them basic infrastructure facilities.Ramteke, who was born in Gadchiroli and spent his early formative years in the district, says he was inspired by his parents to work for the rights of tribals. He studied law and subsequently set up an NGO, PATH Foundation (People’s Action Towards Humanity), a collective of socially conscious young lawyers from different parts of Maharashtra. PATH is working with PVTG (Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups) and other tribal groups in Gadchiroli and Chandrapur districts.During their work in the region, Ramteke and his associates found that local residents were unable to get access to state health services, with those in need having to use private boats or rafts to avail health services in emergency situations. “Ten years ago, two boats were provided by the district collector, which have only been repaired twice since then. Now, the condition of the boats is too bad and they are not in a position to be used any more,” said Ramteke.Through the response to a Right to Information application, Ramteke found that nearly 57% posts in the district health department were vacant. Out of 75 posts of medical officers, 43 were vacant. He then collected signatures of over 40 villagers and filed a Letter Petition, stating that they were under poor economic background, before the Nagpur High Court.Later, the court admitted it as a suo motu Public Interest Litigation (PIL). After hearing his petition, the Nagpur High Court issued notice to the state government regarding “violation of fundamental rights” of the tribes. Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inboxThe court also appointed advocate Renuka Sirpurkar as the amicus curiae to look into the claims made in the PIL. The hearing of the petition is on August 8.“For years, I have been seeing the villagers suffer. We are common people and no one listens to us. Now, with the help of law, I hope the villagers will get justice… and get pending healthcare centres and a bridge,” said Ramteke.Gadchiroli Collector Sanjay Meena said after receiving the notice from the court, the district administration has already supplied a new boat to the village for ferrying local residents. It has also taken steps for the construction of a bridge that will connect the villages to the main road to increase accessibility to primary health centres.“Our engineer from the PWD went to the spot for an investigation on Monday. The construction of the bridge will be expensive, so we have to procure an NOC and seek funds from the state government. We will submit details of all the work we have done in an affidavit to the court,” he told The Indian Express.

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Maharashtra University of Health Sciences launches India’s biggest tribal health surveillance project in Vidarbha
Times of India | 5 hours ago | 10-08-2022 | 04:45 pm
Times of India
5 hours ago | 10-08-2022 | 04:45 pm

NAGPUR: On World Tribal Day (August 9), Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) launched project BLOSSOM in Nagpur in the presence of Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari. As part of this project, the health university along with state tribal directorate, Gondwana University in Gadchiroli, and Laxmanrao Mankar Memorial Trust, will conduct health screening of over 11,000 people living in select 18 tribal villages of Nagpur, Gondia, Gadchiroli and Chandrapur districts. MUHS claimed the project will be biggest tribal health surveillance exercise by any health university in the country. This screening will go beyond a general check-up and will identify persons with breast cancer, liver and lifestyle diseases, sickle cell disease, sexually transmitted infections, osteoporosis and malnutrition (hence the acronym BLOSSOM). In the second phase, the data collected will be analysed, and plans will be made to ensure better health care for the tribals. Gadkari, while launching this project, said benefits of quality health care must reach to the last person in the society. “This is not an easy task to reach the tribal people. Road connectivity is still a major barrier. Building roads in tribal areas is a task. We have to face many obstacles from forest and environment fronts,” he said. He hoped this unique initiative by MUHS will be a valuable documentation of tribal health in Vidarbha and will help in finalizing the health strategies for these areas in future. MUHS vice-chancellor Lieutenant General (retd) Dr Madhuri Kanitkar briefed about the project. “In coming three months, around 22 teams will screen tribals across 18 remote villages. An associate professor will head the team of graduates, post-graduates from medical colleges under MUHS and along with ASHA workers to conduct a thorough screening,” she said. This will be an important academic research for the Nagpur centre of MUHS, said coordinator and well-known orthopaedic surgeon Dr Sanjeev Choudhary. “Nagpur regional centre of MUHS has tied up with the tribal development department for the project. We are looking forward to have this project as a game-changer in the tribal health scenario,” said Dr Choudhary. Being an academic research project, a chair of excellence was also installed for this. Dr Dilip Gode, former VC of Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences, will be the head the chair of excellence. Vice-chancellor of Gondwana University Dr Prashant Bokare, president of Laxmanrao Mankar Trust Arun Lakhani and trustee Sudhir Diwe, additional tribal development commissioner Ravindra Thakre, Dr Ajit Saoji were present along with the who’s who from Vidarbha’s government and private health care fields. BLOSSOM in tribal Vidarbha * BLOSSOM stands for: Breast cancer, liver and lifestyle diseases, sickle cell, sexually transmitted infections, osteoporosis, and malnutrition — population will be screened for these diseases * Three wings: Chandrapur-Gondia; Deori-Gondia; and Ramtek-Parseoni — six villages in each wing will be covered; separate teams constituted for screening * 22 teams: An associate professor in GMC, graduates or PG student from colleges under MUHS and ASHA worker will be in teams * Data analysis: After 3 months of this exercise, data analysis will be conducted and plans will be suggested to ensure better health care for tribal areas

Maharashtra University of Health Sciences launches India’s biggest tribal health surveillance project in Vidarbha
In a first in India, state comes up with housing scheme for transpersons
The Indian Express | 1 day ago | 09-08-2022 | 12:45 am
The Indian Express
1 day ago | 09-08-2022 | 12:45 am

In a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country, Maharashtra’s social justice department will reserve a housing project comprising 150 flats for the transgender community in Nagpur. The department is also planning to move a proposal with agencies like MHADA and CIDCO to reserve a certain number of flats for transgenders.“Nagpur Improvement Trust has a housing complex in its possession with 150 flats. We will include a component from Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, will add our share to it and 10 per cent of the flat cost will be paid by a transperson who is willing to buy the flat. And in case the person does not have money, we will set up a loan arrangement with the bank,” said Dr Prashant Narnaware, Commissioner, Social Welfare on Monday. The total cost of the flat is Rs 10 lakh and has a carpet area of 450 square feet.Narnaware said accommodation is one of the major problems faced by transpersons. “They do not easily get a residence. In case they are following the guru-disciple tradition, then nobody gives them a home or rents a place. It leads to harassment from others and even within the transgender community,” he said. A housing scheme reserved for transpersons will also mean that in case of resale of the flat, it will have to be sold to another transgender individual.He said this is only the first step from the department to provide accommodation to transpersons. “In the second phase, we will request agencies like MHADA and CIDCO that construct houses to reserve certain components for transpersons. They are citizens of this country and have a right to own property,” he added.A proposal in this regard is pending with the finance department and likely to get clearance soon. The state government is setting up a special portal for transpersons on the lines of the central government where identity cards for community members will be made available. The state government is also coming up with a campaign for registration of transpersons and this card will be used for the application process. “If we get more than 150 applications, then we will have a lottery system and in case of fewer applications, we will provide houses on a first come first serve basis,” he said, adding that the process will begin immediately after the clearance from the state finance department.

In a first in India, state comes up with housing scheme for transpersons
Mumbai Confidential: In Waiting
The Indian Express | 2 days ago | 08-08-2022 | 12:45 am
The Indian Express
2 days ago | 08-08-2022 | 12:45 am

The state government had planned the inauguration of the first phase of Mumbai-Nagpur Supercommunications Highway on August 15. A programme had also been planned in the regard in Nagpur where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was expected to be in attendance. Now, with delay in formation of the Maharashtra cabinet along with several other factors, the programme looks likely to be postponed.Food for thoughtShiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut is still in ED custody and might be transferred to judicial custody. Raut’s family is reportedly not happy with the “poor showing” put up by Shiv Sainiks when he was arrested last Sunday and want party workers to “support him better”. Anticipating that he will be transferred to Arthur Road jail, the party’s central unit in Shiv Sena Bhavan has sent a message to the local shakha on N M Joshi Marg to help in smooth passage of home tiffin to the leader. According to rules, there is just one person who is authorised by the jail to send home food and the Sena’s local unit is being counted on to enter into an arrangement with him for the purpose.InstaworthyAnticipating that the civic elections would be held post-monsoon, the Shiv Sena has started making short ‘reels’ on the work done by the party at the BMC during its rule. A reel has already been made on how Hindmata Cinema remained free from waterlogging due to former minister “Aaditya Thackeray’s innovative idea” while another is being planned on work done by the civic body during Covid, including the appointment of a core team by former CM Uddhav Thackeray.(COMPILED BY YOGESH NAIK)

Mumbai Confidential: In Waiting
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