Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Malkangiri, Oct 26:
Odisha unit of Congress today organized a ‘Sishu Banchao Mahasamavesh’ in Odisha’s Malkangiri to protest against the alleged government inaction in addressing the Japanese Encephalitis situation in the state and asked Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to deliver vaccines himself during his upcoming tour of the district.
Led by AICC Secretary Suresh Hegde, former union minister Bhakta Das and Odisha Congress Vice President Pradeep Majhi, hundreds of Congress workers joined the rally and blamed the government negligence for Japanese Encephalitis deaths that — according to Congress– have claimed as many as 200-250 lives so far.
“The Biju Janata Dal government had been making all possible efforts to suppress the Japanese Encephalitis deaths. Had it not been for the street level agitation by Congress, they would have become successful. We get to hear that the Chief Minister is coming here on November 10. We call on him to bring us the vaccines,” said Majhi addressing the gathering.
“I would like to ask the government, if they feel the pain that the family of the deceased kids are feeling. Staying on to power for the sake of it doesn’t help,” said AICC Secretary Hegde speaking to reporters during the rally.
Malkangiri MLA Manas Madkami, a member of ruling BJD, called the rally and Congress’ demand “petty politics”.
“Congress is doing petty politics over the deaths. Instead of holding rallies, they should visit the villages, hold talks with villagers and help create awareness. Besides, once they visit the villages, they themselves will get to know if the government schemes are reaching the people,” said Madkami.
Meanwhile, with yet another death reported late this evening, the death toll rose to 73 in the state in a span of past 48 days.