ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Plight of Nagada

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The nondescript hilltop village, Nagada, in Sukinda block of Odisha’s mineral-rich Jajpur district, which was unknown to everyone, has been in the news recently and the centre of attention for the death of 19 tribal children in a span of three months, allegedly due to malnutrition. Though the state government identified about 20 malnourished children in the village, it is yet to admit that the 19 children died due to lack of nutritious food within the last three months. The village has 24 families of the Juang community, a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG), having 122 children. Each family has eight to nine children (according to a local newspaper). There is no road connectivity, electricity, drinking water or education facilities. According to the treatment centre, malnutrition has become the root cause of child mortality, and clinical signs of other micronutrient deficiency disorders have also been observed.

Not only Nagada, but there are more villages in the area surrounded by dense forests, inhabited by wild animals, like tigers and elephants, and far from the basic necessities of life. Just after the incident came to light, though the government opened a Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre in the village for providing special care and treatment, it was still unreachable to them. Even the tribal families of the village, which is located on a hilltop and is inaccessible due to very difficult hilly terrain, are reluctant to settle down in the foothills.

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