Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Malkangiri, Oct 5:
Japanese Encephalitis continues to claim lives of children in Odisha’s Malkangiri district as three baby girls died of the vector-borne disease taking the death toll to 33.
While Swati Matam of Sindhikela under Mathili block died late last night, Saraswati Kumbhar of Pitakata succumbed to the disease this morning. Similarly, Rasmita Gaud of Mundaguda village died today while she was on the way to hospital.
Following the incident, former Nabarangpur MP and Congress leader Pradeep Majhi staged dharna in front of the district Collector’s office with the bodies demanding compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the families of each deceased. Majhi also demanded an equal amount of ex-gratia for the families of all those children who have lost their lives in the disease.
“It is unfortunate that the state government has failed to reach the children in the affected villages with the vaccine even after the disease has claimed several lives. All the children who have lost their lives belong to tribal families. The life of our tribals is cheap for the state government. The Congress party will not tolerate this. We will continue agitation until Japanese Encephalitis vaccine is administered in Malkangiri district,” said Majhi.
He also demanded filling up of vacant posts of doctors at the district headquarters hospital and shifting of affected children to AIIMS, New Delhi.
Meanwhile, Malkangiri Collector today cancelled Dussehra holidays of all government officials in the district in view of the alarming situation and asked them to stay alert.