June 19, Colombo: Dilip Wedaarachchi, Chairman of the Hambantota District Coordination Committee and State Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development, has informed Hambantota District Secretary Bandula Harischandra to immediately conduct a proper investigation into the death of an 11-month-old child from starvation in the Wijayapura area of the Tissamaharama Nedigamla Grama Niladhari Division.
The State Minister has further advised to pay special attention on how this happened when Samurdhi Officers, Family Health Services Officers, Grama Niladharis, Economic Development Officers and Agricultural Research and Development Officers were working directly with the public to cover every Grama Niladhari Division.
The Minister of State has informed the District Secretary that the family health officer will look after a child for at least one year from the day the child is born.
"These officers go from house to house on a weekly basis. Why was the child not observed? The Grama Niladhari and the Economic Development Officers of the area went from house to house to inquire about the Samurdhi subsidy. Whether they have not met the family is a serious issue," the Minister questioned.
Minister Wedaarachchi instructed the District Secretary to appoint an inquiry committee to ascertain whether the statements made by the officials that the Samurdhi allowance had not been granted to the family since the head of the household, who is said to be suffering from a mental illness, has refused the subsidy.
The Minister also instructed the District Secretary to take immediate action based on the information revealed and to take all necessary steps against responsible officers as an example for other public officers not to function in a negligent manner.