Nine out of 100 tribal children die of hunger in Maharashtra. Though Adivasis live in the most resource-rich areas, they are India’s most deprived people.
in Nandurbar district, Maharashtra
Eight-month-old Gomi was at the age when she could crawl. But when we met Gomi and her mother Jatribai Bila Padvi in Kua village, Nandurbar district, she could barely raise her hand. Extremely weak and undernourished, she had been falling ill constantly. “She always has fever or diarrhoea. It’s difficult to keep taking her to the hospital. It’s too far (11 km) and the doctor’s medicines don’t seem to work,” said Jatribai. Besides, Jatribai also had two other children to look after and had to work everyday unloading sand from trucks while her husband had gone in search of work to Gujarat. The local anganwadi (child care centre), which is supposed to provide food to infants everyday, has also failed to deliver the goods. “They don’t give the children anything. What’s the point of taking them there?” she asked. Five days after we met Jatribai, her daughter passed away.