As the condition in the state of Bihar gets worse with the number of cases of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome(AES) increasing, the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Sushil Modi did not utter a word while the reporters kept asking questions on the deaths of children. Moreover, he said that the reporters can leave if they want to ask questions on children.
On June 19, Deputy CM of Bihar Sushil Modi visited the hospital in Muzaffarpur. However, when reporters asked him to speak on the issue, he maintained his silence and evaded the question.
The reporter asked: "Children have died today also, it about the lives of children, what do you want to say, what is the government doing"?
However, Sushil Modi did not respond and later his a minister said that he has taken into account all the situations in the hospital. Later in a press conference, he says to all the reporters that those who want to ask on children's issue, then they can leave the room.
"If the reporters want to ask questions on children, please go out and then ask", Deputy CM of Bihar Sushil Modi said.
As per reports, the death toll in Bihar on Wednesday has reached 132, with the administration under Chief Minister Nitish Kumar blaming it on excessive heat and humidity, hypoglycemia, eating litchis on an empty stomach. However, despite the disease affecting the state every year, the questions as to why the state or Centre failed to combat this illness remains unanswered.
The Bihar government on June 18 released a press note highlighting their observation on the AES outbreak. This came minutes after Bihar chief secretary Deepak Kumar said that the CM was satisfied with the facilities inside the hospital despite videos from inside the hospital suggesting otherwise.
In the press release of Bihar's CM, one reason for the deaths has been cited that the children slept without having dinner. It says that many affected children slept without eating food. It said that environmental study and analysis is necessary and that the problem of mosquitoes also has to be solved. It also noted that the problem of Drinking water has to be monitored.
The press release further stated that the CM has said that apart from awareness campaign, there must be a focus on all other issues surrounding the affected children. The release also mentioned that the CM wants to know the ratio of girls and boys affected by the disease. The press note further stated that the CM has ordered to increase the number of beds in the hospital and the ICU. He also said that doctors should be available 24*7 in the hospital.
However, the press note did not provide an answer to the cause of AES or steps that have been taken by the government until now.
On June 18, as the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was leaving the venue at the Vidhan Sabha campus in Patna after paying tribute to Anugrah Narayan Sinha on his birth anniversary, Republic TV reporter confronted him and asked him if it is too late that he is visiting the patients in the Muzaffarpur hospital after days of the encephalitis outbreak. However, Nitish Kumar chose to duck and ignore the question "Isn't it too late?" as he sat in his car and left the venue.