Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel announced on Wednesday that tribals living in the forest regions of Bastar would soon get free nutritious food through gram panchayats and access to medical facilities.
The announcement comes in the wake of over 100 children deaths in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district due to acute encephalitis syndrome (AES).
Mr Baghel said the state government would be launching two new schemes for tribals, related to malnutrition and healthcare facilities. These schemes will play a pivotal role in improving the health status of tribals.
The state government will provide nutritious food to the forest dwellers to combat malnutrition and, as part of another scheme, tribals will have mobile healthcare facilities in weekly markets.
These schemes will soon be launched from Bastar region as a "pilot project". Bastar is considered to be worst Maoist-affected region in Chhattisgarh.
"Bastar region has the highest malnutrition level across Chhattisgarh. We have inherited this problem and are committed to completely eradicate it," Mr Baghel said.
He said nutritious food would be provided to locals as per their choice through gram panchayats and women self-help groups.
In the next one week, a pilot project will be launched in few panchayats and in the next one month, rest of the districts will be covered, the chief minister said.
He said as the tribal people living in Bastar do not have access to health services, all districts in the Bastar division have been included in the health index as the most-backward districts in terms of medical facilities.
"Bastar and Dantewada collectors have been directed to send medical teams consisting of a doctor, mobile pathology unit, portable X-ray unit and necessary medicines at the weekly markets as immediate step," the chief minister said.
He said the state government would ensure that medical teams and representatives visit weekly markets every week.
The chief minister is hopeful that though this initiative locals living in remote and far-flung areas would have access to good health care facilities and be able to live healthy life.
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