In a glaring instance of government apathy towards the health of tribals, at least 11 persons have died in a small hamlet in Vizag Age-ncy since April due to diseases like gastro-enteritis, pulmonary tuberculosis and malaria. The deaths ca-me to light after a two-member fact finding team of the Human Rights Forum (HRF) visited the Vizag Agency on Saturday and Sunday.
Following reports that a large number of Adivasis had succumbed to various ailments in Seesaipanuku village in Jarakonda panchayat of Hukumpet mandal in Paderu division of Vizag Agency, the team visited the village on Sunday.
“Our enquiries reveal that at least 25 Adivasis of the village have died over the past two years due to gastro-enteritis, pulmonary tuberculosis and malaria. Of these deaths, 11 occurred from April onwards this year. This is a shocking figure considering that the total number of households in the village is only 44 and the population only 212. Governmental failure in meeting its obligations to the Adivasis is squarely responsible for these deaths,” said HRF state president S. Jeevan Kumar.
Interestingly, Seesaipan-uku is by no means an inaccessible or remote village. The nearest motorable road is not even half-a-kilometre away.
However, all Kondh resid-ents have no access to clean drinking water. They rely on a well which contains water that is clearly unfit for human consumption. Even this dries up totally during summer and they make do with water from a nearby narrow stream whi-ch is also contaminated.
Consumption of unsafe water is responsible for most fatalities, observed Jeevan Kumar. HRF believes that the large number of deaths at Seesaipan-uku were because locals had no access to clean drin-king water, inefficient and insufficient medicare, malnutrition leading to enfeebled resistance to disease, atrocious public hygiene and pathetic health intervention by successive governments. “This grim situation is not peculiar to the Paderu division alone. It exists all the way
from Utn-oor division in Adilabad di-strict to Seetampeta Agen-cy in Srikakulam district,” the HRF president added.
This article originally appeared on deccanchronicle