Pointing to the malnutrition figures provided by the National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau, which says 33 per cent of the population, including 50 per cent of scheduled tribes and 60 per cent of scheduled castes, suffer from chronic under-nutrition, Dr. Sen wondered what prevented the administration from addressing this situation in regions not affected by Maoist presence.
Referring to a long-term study undertaken by a small non-governmental organisation, Jan Swarth Sahyog, which functions from the Ganiyari village in Chhattisgarh's Bilaspur district, he said the people in the region suffer from chronic malnutrition and malnutrition-related diseases like malaria and pulmonary tuberculosis during the period of August to November each year.
“There is no Maoist in this area. So the government argument that Maoist violence is responsible for the terrible level of under-development, poverty and inequity does not hold here…if body mass index is monitored on a monthly basis, there is a dip of BMI when rice harvest from the previous year runs out…The starvation leads to low immunity of the body and so malaria sets in. Also 95 per cent of the pulmonary tuberculosis cases have been found with BMI less than 18.5,” Dr. Sen said.