Kokrajhar, Aug. 31: Supreme Court special commissioner (right to food) Harsh Mander today stressed the need for better nutrition to the children and pregnant women in BTAD relief camps.
Speaking to reporters during his visit to the riot-affected districts of Dhubri, Kokrajhar and Chirang today to review the condition of inmates regarding access to food schemes like ICDS and other essential services, Mander said, “Some special nutrition have been provided to the children but full-fledged Anganwadis in each of the shelters will be of much help to the children and pregnant women besides some kind of temporary teaching arrangement and play activity for the children. As long as these camps go on, we have to give them improved services.”
Supreme Court state adviser (right to food) Sunil Kaul accompanied Mander.
The team, after visiting Dhubri yesterday, visited Kokrajhar today and met the inmates at Debargaon and Sukhanjhora relief camps.
Mander said he would to take up the issue with the government of providing better nutrition, especially to children and expecting mothers, and also on providing green vegetables to the camps.
The government has been providing mainly lentils and rice to the camp inmates. The contribution of edibles from NGOs, which were active the early days, has also come down, forcing the inmates to survive on food provided by the government.
Mander said, “In the camps, people have basic services and facilities to survive. As an individual interested in human rights and communal harmony, I have larger concerns about how to rebuild a peaceful atmosphere in Assam,” he said.
On relief and rehabilitation, he said, “The government has made a lot of effort. It is a huge monetary crisis. I think both the governments at the Centre and the state besides the rest of India should be contributing a lot more to help these peoples rebuild their lives. I feel we have to have a much stronger rehabilitation plan when people go back; giving them small amounts of money is not going to help.”
“The stories are the same at each camp; people have suffered the same way, faced the same difficulties in the camps, the fear of burning of their homes, fear to return home, sense of betrayal by neighbours, it’s same problem, humanitarian problems where we have to come together. That is the larger issue,” he said.