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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 16:

Odisha BJP General Secretary Bhrugu Baxipatra today questioned the government numbers on Japanese Encephalitis deaths in the state and alleged that 150 have died of it in Malkangiri district alone.

(File Pic)
(File Pic)

Briefing reporters in Bhubaneswar today, Baxipatra said that people across 99 villages in six blocks of the district have been affected in the disease. Besides, he claimed that nine kids have died in past three days.

“Odisha Government is trying to spin 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 beneficiaries,” said 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.

Biju Janata Dal issued a clarification over his statement.

“The deaths because of JE are unfortunate. The State Government has taken the issue seriously and is taking all necessary steps to contain it. While we do not object to opposition finding faults with our work, we think they should also table their suggestions to overcome the issue,” said BJD Spokesperson Sashi Bhusan Behera.