A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar after the death toll due to acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) in Bihar reached 135 on Tuesday.
The PIL, which also names Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey and Union MoS for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Choubey, comes on a day that the Bihar Chief Minister finally visited the SKMCH hospital in Bihar's Muzaffarpur where most of the deaths have taken place.
Earlier in the day, Republic TV's report from the premises of the hospital revealed shocking inadequacies, with cleanliness and orderliness found wanting and a mass of people being crowded into limited number of beds. Family members of patients also complained about lack of basic facilities, such as water and medicine and high-handedness of doctors.
One of those protesting against Nitish Kumar narrated how the lack of facilities has fuelled the situation:
"Apart from the dire conditions of the hospital, there is an acute shortage of water. Even the doctors are neglecting their duties. The ones who practise here do so without the supervision of senior doctors. The administration is so careless, there aren't any nurses in the ward." he added.
Earlier, after the Bihar Chief Minister had visited the hospital, the Bihar government had released a press note stating their observation regarding the AES outbreak, the reason for which is as-yet unknown. Surprisingly, Bihar chief secretary Deepak Kumar also mentioned that the CM was satisfied with the facilities of the hospital despite even a quick glance suggesting otherwise.
READ | Unanimous: From Lack Of Basic Amenities And Medicines, To Unclean Premises, To Overcrowding, Kin Of Patients At Muzaffarpur's SKMCH Hospital Lash Out As Encephalitis Death Toll In Bihar Reaches 130
The press release cited reasons like children sleeping without having dinner, the problem of mosquitos and called for monitoring drinking water. The release also mentioned that the CM insisted on the details of the ratio of girls and boys affected. The press note further stated that the CM has ordered to increase the number of beds in the hospital and the ICU.