Congress walks out of UP Assembly over Gorakhpur encephalitis deaths
(Sourced from PTI)
The Congress walked out of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly today alleging that the state government had imposed an "emergency" in BRD Medical College to hide actual figures of encephalitis deaths in Gorakhpur from the media. The matter was raised by Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Ajay Kumar Lallu to know the number of deaths due to Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES).
Ajay raised the issue during the Question Hour. Responding to him, Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh claimed that compared to previous years, encephalitis cases, deaths have come down due to the government's sustained efforts. "Due to training, awareness, the encephalitis cases and deaths have come down. In the budget, for the first time Rs. 20 crore was earmarked for the awareness drive," he said.
The Health Minister further said, "People from all walks (of life) were associated with the campaign due to which we got success in containing the disease." Lallu, however, claimed that in Gorakhpur alone scores of people had died due to encephalitis.
"Emergency has been imposed on the media in the BRD college, where no regular bulletins are issued about the cases and deaths", Lallu further said. Refuting the allegations, Singh clarified that "media could not differentiate between child deaths in PICU (Pediatric ICU) and MICU (Medical ICU) due to which confusion prevailed at times". There is no emergency imposed on anyone, he said.
"It's the Congress party who believes in imposing emergency. Bulletins and information are given whenever sought, but the entry of media is disallowed in PICU and MICU," Singh said. Dissatisfied with the reply, the CLP leader termed the government as "non-serious" and accused it of hiding the real data on encephalitis. He then led the walkout of his party members.