Raichur malnutrition deaths & BJP ‘governance’

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: More than 2,600 children under 6 years of age—that’s two-thousand-six-hundred children under six years of age—are reported to have died of malnutrition in Raichur district over the past two years as per data provided by the women and child welfare department.

The irony couldn’t have been more stark or striking: hot and arid Raichur is, after all, home for India’s only active goldmine, Hutti, in Lingasugar taluk. Another 4,500 children are reported to be on their deathbed due to malnutrition in Deoburg and Manvi taluks  of Raichur.

“The entire system has collapsed. It has now become a sociopolitical and economic issue. Karnataka claims to be a progressive state but look at what is happening in these villages,” Dr Akhila Vasan, a child healthcare expert and worker, has been quoted as saying.

Yet, the response of the State government, whose leading figures utter the words “governance” and “development agenda” like a stuck record, is stunning to be believed.

B.S. Yediyurappa, who took a chopper to every known and unknown temple and mutt to save himself from the long arm of the law, and his BJP colleagues who are cooling their heels in Parappana Agrahara, never found time to visit these villages and take effective steps.

The minister for child and women’s welfare C.C. Patil, who was directed by new chief minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda to visit the district by September 26, has still not found the time, and it is already October 27.

The minister for medical education, S.A. Ramadas, who was  busy splurging taxpayers’ money and hogging all the limelight during Dasara, hasn’t heard of this or hasn’t been bothered enough to respond. Leave alone visiting the affected villages, he hasn’t stepped out of Mysore, fearing he might be upstaged by his friend-turned-foe–cum-colleague Shobha Karandlaje.

And, needles to say, the State’s health minister has been missing in action. So, who was the State’s health minister under Yediyurappa the last two years? B. Sriramulu.

Aha, that explains everything.

Graphics: courtesy Mail Today and Frontline

External reading: Hard to follow

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28 Responses to “Raichur malnutrition deaths & BJP ‘governance’”

  1. chanakya Says:

    We all should feel sorry for the tragedy. But what the bloody government and opposition are doing? the government has lost its credibility as most BJP ministers are in jail.

    On the other hand, what the hell Sidramaiah and HD Kumaraswamy are doing? just barking like a street dog (Beg pardon dogs, who are known for honesty) each time on ruling party does not make a healthy opposition. If at all they are humans by nature, they should go to the spot, heed to their problem and at immediately. I see a politician spending crores and crores on his concubine and gives nothing to these poor people. Our whole system is nasty one; more nasty than a brothel house…..

  2. Jay Says:

    It is really sad to see this happening..
    When we can afford to provide lands to ministers who are already filthy rich, tax exception to corporations that make millions, Organize sporting events that costs billions.. at the expense of taxpayers…Why cant it provide food and basic heath felicities to people living in absolute poverty!

    Shame on us!!

    BTW, I wouldn’t mind paying extra tax if it was needed, to feed the hungry and provide healthcare to them!

  3. anamika Says:

    Don’t have anything much to say. We need to stop this corruptio be it Congress or BJP

  4. TAL Says:

    It is shocking. It is a tragic irony all this has happened under the rule of a party which never tires of projecting itself as ‘different’.

  5. Balasubramanian A Says:

    Unfortunate. This seems to be a serious lapse of Governance. But I wonder how is that such a large number of children affected by malnutrition in one district had gone unnoticed all this time? Why this was not brought to the notice of authorities or charitable organisations , apart from collecting statistics and writing articles. I do not understand the purport behind this blame game. If there is failure on the part of Governance in the State, then this could have been takenup in the Parliament by our elected MPs, or even sought judicial remidy..

    Again the question in my mind as a tax payer is what happens to all the money spent in welfare schemes instituted by Central Ministries, the name of the members of the ruling family ?

  6. the colonel Says:

    wake up!!!


  7. Swetha Says:

    We are all by now acutely aware that the entire BJP cabinet of Yeddi as well as the new cabinet of his side-kick Sadananda Gowda is crammed with the most-corrupt, self-serving politicians Karnataka has ever witnessed. Aside to this all the MLA’s and their illiterate cronies (many of whom have multiple criminal cases) have been royally accommodated as ‘chairman’ of various state corporations a.k.a ATMs.

    What is absolutely shocking and really upsetting is the state of North Karnataka. While the current CM is from South Kanara which incidentally has the worst possible roads anywhere in the state and a dysfunctional highway to Blr, it is North Karnataka, especially the districts mentioned by Churumuri that have faced chronic neglect for decades, despite so many state and cabinet ministers of all parties, from the region.

    Take the case of minister Murugesh Nirani who, hold you breadth: comes from the same Bagalkot district. Another Yeddi flunky, he is now a multi-billionaire and like all his colleagues, is intricately involved in the biggest of scams. What is tragic is that he is the most recognized and ‘noted minister’ from the district where so many children had to die and continue to die, unnecessarily!

    The rise and rise of the most-well nourished Nirani is well documented in this most revealing article:

  8. ML Ramprakash Says:

    Weigh this against the shocking news that the GOI have let go (waived) a few hundred lakh crores of rupees of taxes due to Govt from Corporate billionaires; and against the fact that since 2007 to date several hundred thousand farmers committed suicide, being unable to bear the debt burden; and against reckless acquisition of fertile farm lands in Gagag, Dharawar, Badami for “Industrial purposes,” in spite of protests from farmers, driving them. ultimately, to migrate in droves to swell the urban slums. the land acquired is for enrichment of bureaucrats, politicians, Realtors and Corporate houses.

    Rural India is being bled to slow and painful death. This is Manmohan Singh-Aluwaliah combine’s prescription for India’s economic development and for super=power status. India Shining, truly !

    Whether BJP or Congress, it is all the same. All of these politicos are set of thugs and criminals. One day they will be made to answer
    It is heart-rending

  9. bala Says:

    It is unfortunate that Raichur has been very bad. Though most of the health related projects and women and child welfare project have been in place.. money is spent but not going to the right people.. whether it Sriramulu or Shivangouda Nayak or anybody… It is misfortune of Raichur district and children of the area..

  10. Shreekar Says:

    Raichur district not only produces gold and electricity but also is known for its paddy fields and its rice is of extremely superior quality. Raichur has numerous rice mills which export high quality rice to different countries.

    In 2006, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Raichur one of the country’s 250 most backward districts (out of a total 640 districts). It is one of the five districts in Karnataka currently receiving funds from the Backward Region Grant Programme. (Wiki)

    This story makes us wonder how and where these funds are used.

    The two most affected talukas are Devadurga and Manvi – both assembly constituencies reserved for ST candidates.

    While one is represented by a Congress MLA, the other is represented by BJP. The MP for the district is from BJP.

    Goes to prove that the party with a difference is not different from other parties at all.

    One is tempted to ask these representatives what they have done or are doing to address this problem.

    The anganwadis and schools everywhere are supposed to provide midday meals to the children.

    It is heartening to note that the Karnataka High Court has issued notice to Center , to the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development.

  11. Ravi Says:

    There are several WHO funded projects that provide simple solutions to such massive malnutriton. One I remember is providing victims simple snacks made of peanuts and sugar(bella – jagary). This provides veg-protein and dense calories. Such snacks may be made in commercial scale and distributed by NGO.

  12. Raju Says:

    how do these numbers compare against previous governments of non-BJP parties? Do we not have to compare before making up our minds?
    Did this percentage get better, or get worse or remain where it was?
    Also during the same period, did other southern states improve/worsen ?

  13. anur Says:

    agree with @raju here. Pre 2008 reports not given.this report thus means to be made by congress.

  14. the colonel Says:



    so go tell the suffering that. it will be great solace for them.



    and one more thing,

    don’t our temples do anything?

    for the suffering??

  15. Augustine Kuriapilly Says:

    Children are nation’s wealth. Of all babies, human child is by far the frailest and most vulnerable. The future makers and rulers of the world are the least strong and totally incapable of defending themselves. It is left to parents and society to ensure that a healthy and happy childhood is given to every baby. But somewhere society has failed. When I see the pictures of helplessly crying ill nourished children in different parts of India, I wonder if the pictures have their source in BIafra or Congo. They are children of a nation where corruption and black money are counted in crores of rupees and billions of dollars. They are children of a nation busy in building statues of their leaders and leaving them to become toilets of birds and marking points for street dogs. What a paradox.

  16. Faldo Says:

    @Ravi – good point. The suggested solution seems to be quite simple. This problem is not just an issue of negligence of the leadership.
    It seems to be as much a problem of distribution of the right foodgrains or worse still lack of awareness about what constitutes the right (balanced) diet for these children. Raichur does produce more than adequate amount of paddy as Shreekar points out.
    All this breast beating about evil politicians is fine but maybe the local population needs some educating as well. After all parents and the immediate family play a role in feeding these children.

  17. M Says:

    Here is a different thought:

    1. Why do we Indians including the ‘poorest of the poor’ spend more on Gold and Silk and not on Food?

    2. Why do even the ‘poorest of the poor’ have atleast some gold?

    3. Why do we waste nutritious food every day in the name of Abisheka and by ship-loads once in a while?

    4. When you dine at a Westerner’s home, the hostess will not force to you to ‘have more’. They usually have plenty of food and its your choice how much you have. But our womenfolk are busy forcing children, husband and guests to gorge: why? because these are things that we have managed to be make them scarce.

    5. I know of many Brahmin households where in the name of ‘madi’ they don’t keep excess lunch for dinner or excess dinner for lunch in an age where refrigeration technology has reached it zenith. lunch after lunch time becomes ‘thangalu’. Fresh is their ‘mantra’.

  18. the colonel Says:

    dear Faldo,

    in this information age we are engulfed by apathy.

    apathy is caused by an indifferent population.

    the same population which sorts , thinks(???????) and elects and very wisely(??????????????????) then defends.

    this is no “MAYA”.

    have’nt you seen a man with his push cart with his wife and son in it while his little daughter struggles to keep pace with them crying her heart out.

    its a sick society we have here.

    no disputing all the above

  19. Satya Says:

    Shocking. ERR needs to be congratulated for highlighting this tragic situation. At least now the Government should wake up.

  20. Shree Kar Says:

    There is no dearth of good NGOs in the State. Akshaya Patra scheme of ISKCON has been doing exemplary work in feeding school children as well as destitutes irrespective of caste and creed. Hope these news reports induce it to rush to Raichur to improve the conditions.

  21. Satisitician Says:

    I toured the districts of Haveri and Hirekur recently. No matter how badly governened my state is, no matter even if all the 124 BJP MLA’s end up in jail – the lingayats and brahmins will vote for BJP – and the other castes will vote for any party other than BJP – this is the sense that I got from a highly polarised society. Divided sharply on caste basis.

  22. raj Says:

    A comprehensive health care reforms in the form of public health delivery systems, primary and secondary care ans livelihood assistance program has to be launched in the some of the districts of north karnataka (bidar, gulbarga, raichur) without any delay. Its just not unfortunate but inhuman on the part of the state to turn a blind eye towards these tragic events.

  23. Shetty Says:

    Land of Justice!

    The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has finally begun gathering evidence against a large number of officials, contractors and “non-officials” allegedly involved in the multi-crore scam in awarding piecework contracts in the Upper Krishna Project (UKP) between 1995 and 1998.

    The CID has lodged a First Information Report (FIR) in the Vidhana Soudha police station against “unnamed persons”. No one has been named in the accused column, an official said!

    “The documents available with the CID pertaining to the case run into thousands of pages. We have to scrutinise at least 8,000 pages of documents,” Director-General of Police, CID, Shankar M. Bidari told The Hindu.

  24. Vijay Says:

    IPL heroes get millions of ruppees, and still India cannot feed its poor children the basic food which costs comparatively so little!
    Go on send satellites and pan for moon missions when children are dying of malnutrition and starvation. Some priorities in third world India.

  25. emptymind Says:

    At one sight we are seeing people died of starvation, flood etc
    on other sight we are seeing stupid government donating crores to useless mutts, expend lavishly on timepass festivals, award ceremony.
    where are those business tycoons, politicians and film stars who donates so much to tirupaty temple to get rid of their sins. are they watching this.

  26. Savitha Says:


    No one is sleeping….
    In fact, the puppet CM and all the ‘noted’ ministers & MLAs are working day and night, doing great ‘public service’ and filling their coffers ruthlessly!

    Despite the Lokayukta Special Court or some honest and courageous folks like Santosh Hegde, Judge N K Sudheendra Rao, Judge B V Pinto, none of these shamelessly corrupt crooks will ever be ruthlessly punished or their loot recovered.

    Ironically, they do take short breaks, for instance to take orders from Yeddi’s cell or listen and laugh at LK Advani anti-corruption preachings during the Jan Chetna Yatra through Karnataka!

  27. anoop hosmath Says:

    Across the country there are worrying trends in rural-urban immigration and the possible impact on agricultural production,not to mention overcrowded cities.At this juncture the government must show maturity and vision to make informed policy decisions that can bring in sustenance.To see so many farmers committing suicides is mind numbing.Personally to see Karnataka figure “prominently” in the infamous hall of fame is even more painful.The state won the agricultural award for highest production in coarse cereals last year in spite of floods and other mitigating factors.This strangely juxtaposes with the fact that Karnataka has always featured on the podium when it comes to farmer suicides.In the backdrop of such events the state also plans to host an agro-business summit,the ad showing the whole state ready to be sliced up and used as a private laboratory by international firms.There is a thrust on organic farming but ground realities suggest a total sellout by the government.A prominent news channel just days ago shamed the state by horrendous images of children dying of malnutrition in Raichur district.Instead of trying to stuff up the cities like sardines and spur spurious growth,tangible targets are visible to be attained and the godforsaken atmosphere in some parts of the state represents an urgent case of clear and present danger.The government must focus on “sprinkling” the seeds of prosperity all over the state and not set up ambitious targets for a “Mall a mile” to compete with Gurgaon.Already Karunadu is a haven of Kallaranadu,let it not become Kanishtanadu.

  28. Ritesh Says:

    How are you points even connected with the issue? You really mean that people are not getting enough food to eat because some Brahmin families are throwing away what they have? I guess you are using this incident as an excuse to target societal traditions. Well, you have missed something there. There was tradition in India( and well described in Bhagavatam) which says that a man is supposed to feed even a dog on the street, if its hungry, before even honoring a morsel of food. Why is this tradition not highlighted? Instead you have turned your entire argument into a polemic against abhisheks, prasad and what not.

    Do you know that the Europeans spend around 4 – 5 billion dollars feeding their cats and dogs, while babies in African nations starve? Somehow, we are inclined to quote statistics to push another agenda.

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