BJP Puts Japanese Encephalitis Death Toll At 150 In Odisha’s Malkangiri

**Bhubaneswar**: The Odisha unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday said Odisha Government hiding the number of kids died of Japanese Encephalitis in Malkangiri by alleging the the vector-borne disease has so far killed more than 150 children till date.

The saffron party directly blamed the State Government by saying the administration has failed to take timely measures in containing the outbreak of the disease in the tribal-dominated district.

Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, BJP State General Secretary Bhrugu Buxipatra said while the state government has put the number of deaths at 56, the fact is that more than 150 children have died of Encephalitis in this southern Odisha district.

“Odisha Government is trying to hide the facts. Even though the State Government made an announcement to distribute 30 lakh mosquito nets, only 11,000 have been distributed. While the Health Secretary committed to distribute 50,000 nets, none have reached the beneficiaries,” alleged Baxipatra.

He further added that the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) had made an announcement to distribute as many as one core mosquito nets, but has not distributed any. In addition, the government issued a tender to procure mosquito nets and later cancelled it.

“The situation we are facing today in Malkangiri arose as the State Government neither procured the planned 30 lakh mosquitoes nor did they distribute the 60 lakh nets given by the Union Government. These 90 lakh nets could have reached the people of the state, especially the people of Malkangiri, in the past one year. This could have stopped the JE deaths,” he added.

Meanwhile, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) also clarified its stand over BJP’s allegation.

“The deaths because of JE are really unfortunate. The State Government has taken the issue seriously and is taking all necessary steps to control it. But, the Opposition is trying to create confusion and take political mileage on this issue. We think they should also table their suggestions to overcome the issue,” said BJD Spokesperson Sashi Bhusan Behera.