Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Sambalpur, Jan 3:
Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) chief Prasad Harichandan today blamed the state government for the alarming situation arising out of the outbreak of jaundice in Sambalpur.
“Had the state government taken necessary steps early for stamping out the disease, such a situation would not have arisen. Despite reports that drinking water in the town was contaminated, the state government didn’t act on it. If the state needs any assistance from the Centre in this regard, we are ready to offer help. The state government, which was aware of the drinking water contamination in Sambalpur town, exposed thousands of people to the disease,” said Pradhan, who was on a one-day visit to Sambalpur today.
The Union Minister said; “I am surprised to know that such a big city like Sambalpur with so much population doesn’t even have a sewerage system”. He said there is a little improvement in the situation now.
OPCC chief Harichandan, who was also on a visit to the town today, visited several affected areas of the town and blamed the state government for the situation.
Harichandan said the death toll and the number of those affected by jaundice was much higher than the official figures.
“I am just surprised to know that there is no gastroenterologist posted here, who specializes in treating jaundice. Even more surprising is the fact that there is no gastroenterologist at the VSS Medical College and Hospital at Burla. The government acted very late on the situation while it was aware of the situation much before”, pointed out Harichandan.
“The government should have posted a gastroenterologist within 8 to 15 days of the outbreak, but it has not done till date,” said Harichandan.
“Patients here do not have beds and are sleeping on the floor with male and female patients all tucked in together,” said Harichandan pointing out that he doesn’t want to do politics at this critical moment when the town’s citizens are waging a battle against an epidemic like situation.
The BJD, on the other hand, has blamed the BJP for the sorry state of affairs and the situation in Sambalpur.
BJD spokesperson and Sambalpur MLA Dr Raseswari Panigrahi said; “Dharmendra Babu should remember that it was the BJP, which was in charge of the municipality in Sambalpur town for the last 10 years. The constituency was represented by their representative in the Odisha Assembly for the last 15 years. Had they made some efforts to replace the rotting water supply pipelines, such a situation would not have arisen. We are now cleaning the garbage they had left behind and are renovating the water supply system which they had left in a mess”.
“No one can blame us for the situation. We are doing our level best to contain the situation,” said Dr Panigrahi and added that “We are on the right track. If Dharmendra babu wants to help, he can.”
In Bhubaneswar, Health minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak said it was not proper on the part of Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan to accuse the state government once the team sent by the Central government has praised our efforts to contain the disease.