Angry villagers want to ban entry of ministers in tribal areas of Palghar
Anger and frustration reached their limits in the tribal- concentrated Palghar district of Maharashtra on Saturday, when a group of gram panchayats discussed imposing a blanket ban on entry of all state government ministers in the area. The group members will meet again on Sunday to discuss the matter further, Pandurang Malak, sarpanch of the Khoch gram panchayat, told dna.
“People are angry. Their children are dying of hunger. Ministers come, do lip service and then leave. People want to ban their entry, unless they perform,” Malak said.
Echoing the sentiment, a vil- lager said, “Our villages are not tourist spots. Death of small kids is not a tourism opportunity. Ministers must not visit us, unless they do something serious to address the issue.”
On Friday, tribal minister Vishnu Savra was heckled and forced to leave the Kalamwadi village in Vikramgad taluka, where he had gone to meet the family of Sagar Wagh, who died due to severe malnutrition on August 30 at the age of two. Savra hails from Vikramgad and represents the constituency in the Maharashtra assembly.
Sources said women and child development minister Pankaja Munde was also planning to visit the affected families in Palghar, but she deferred the plan after getting reports of villagers’ anger. Meanwhile on Saturday, leader of Opposition in the assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, and leader of Opposition in the council, Dhananjay Munde, visited tribal villages.
Vivek Pandit, former independent MLA of Vasai, claimed, “People are angry as none of the six MLAs in the district are serious enough to address the issues that affect tribals.” Two BJP, one Shv Sena and three Bahujan Vikas Aghadi MLAs represent the district, where 4.3 lakh out of the total 5.4 lakh people belong to tribal communities.
( L- R) Sita and Ramdas, parents of deceased Sagar at Kalamwadi Mokhada; malnourished Rahul Kahnat with his mother Kali in Khoch; and Manohari Bangaad, another weak child, at Kalamwadi in Palghar