An­gry vil­lagers want to ban en­try of min­is­ters in tribal ar­eas of Pal­ghar

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Kan­chan Sri­vas­tava Kan­chan. sri­vas­tava@ dnain­dia. net

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.

— Pho­tos by He­mant Padalkar/ dna

( 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

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