Bihar Dy CM dodges question on encephalitis, says stick to topic

Patna (Bihar): Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Sushil Modi appeared to be unfazed about child deaths due to encephalitis as he conveniently dodged a question on the issue on Wednesday stating that his press conference was only about banking committees.

“I made it clear at the very start that this is a meeting of the bankers’ organisation, for any other topic other than the ones related to banking, I will speak at a different occasion. If you want to ask anything related to banking please do so,” Modi said when he was repeatedly questioned by reporters about child deaths due to the viral disease.

The BJP leader was addressing media about the non-performing assets (NPA) crisis in the state and the performance of banks in the last financial year.

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Encephalitis has claimed lives of 112 children in the state’s Muzaffarpur.

Despite the mounting death toll, the sight of Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH), where over 300 children ailing with encephalitis were admitted, is dismal, to say the least.

Apathy seems to have plagued the administration as the state-run hospitals lack basic infrastructure facilities and hygiene.

“The condition has remained the same for a long time. There’s no bed for the patients and we don’t have any other place to go with our ailing children. It is not safe to stay like this in the summer,” an attended accompanying a child told ANI.

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On Tuesday, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar visited the hospital to take stock of the situation. Earlier, he had announced an ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh each to the families of the children who died due to encephalitis.

On Sunday, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan also visited the facility and chaired a meeting over the issue with central and state representatives. He had to face public outrage as some people staged protests during his visit and some political workers also showed his convoy black flags.


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