**Malkangiri:** The Zilla Adivasi Samaj Mahasangh resorted to a 12-hour Malkangiri bandh on Tuesday affecting normal life in the district protesting the failure of the State Government in curbing the death toll due to Japanese Encephalitis (JE).
The roads sported a deserted look as the shops and business establishments remained closed. Vehicular movement on roads has been affected. The commuters are facing problems as there is no movement of vehicles.
“I am totally in a fix. I don’t know how to reach my village as I didn’t know that there was a bandh ensuing today in Malkangiri,” said a commuter who was travelling from Visakhapatnam to his village in Malkangiri with his family.
Ghanshyam Madkami, president, Zilla Adivasi Samaj Mahasangh.said, “JE was detected back in 2012-23, but the government did not take any steps to contain it. I appeal all the organizations to extend full support in our endeavour to demonstrate this bandh throughout the district. We are demanding that these JE deaths should be declared as a national calamity and all the bereaved parents should get a compensation of Rs 10 lakhs for each child they have lost.”
“It is already two months that the disease broke out in the district and around 100 innocent children have succumbed to this disease. The government should take strict and prompt action to stop the disease from spreading, instead it is busy reviewing the situation. Therefore, we have resorted to this bandh to voice our concern over the deaths of the tribal children. We are demanding a compensation amount of Rs 10 lakhs per child’s death and the establishment of a proper hospital where experts from all over the country should be present to tackle any kind of situation,” said Abhiram Mallick, State Co-ordinator, Dalit Committee.
They have plans to gherao the Collector’s office tomorrow protesting the rising deaths of children and submit a memorandum in this regard.
Notably, the disease has so far claimed 94 lives in the district but the State government has put the figure at 27. Despite various steps and awareness drives undertaken by the Health Department and the district administration, the situation is not under control yet.
Meanwhile the 12-member Central team is taking a stock of the situation in the district