Even as many as 130 children have died due to the outbreak of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in the state of Bihar, yet another Bihar Minister gave an insensitive remark that if so many children have died then 200 children were saved as well. On the other hand, the Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) superintendent said that Bihar CM Nitish Kumar was satisfied with the treatment in the hospital as he visited the SKMCH hospital on Tuesday morning.
Speaking to media, Bihar Minister Suresh Sharma said:
"If 128 died then 200 children were also saved, media must highlight this. Nitish Kumar met every patient and their parents. He reviewed the situation in the hospital and he gave them (families of victims) a detailed report about cause of the disease', Suresh Sharma said.
Furthermore while speaking to media, after CM Nitish Kumar's visit, Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) superintendent said:
"The chief minister came and analysed the situation, he talked to the patients, to the doctors, he was satisfied with the treatment going on here. Although he highlighted some of the shortages, he said we will together work on it."
On June 18, as the Bihar Chief Minister 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.
As per reports, the death toll in Muzaffarpur district has reached 109, in Vaishali district 1 and in Samastipur 4, 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.
As Nitish Kumar visited the SKMCH hospital on Tuesday morning, protest broke out over his silence on the incident. A protestor outside the SKMCH hospital said: "CM cannot just sit in his car and walk away, he has to reply. We are protesting against the inefficiency of the government. Nitish Kumar must answer, he cannot come in an AC car and go."
Meanwhile, a case has been filed by social activist Tamanna Hashmi against Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey in a court in Muzaffarpur district on charges of negligence leading to the deaths of innocent children due to AES over a period of 9 days. Moreover, it was alleged that Union Health Minister of State Ashwini Kumar Choubey was sleeping during the press briefing on the Acute Encephalitis Syndrome by Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.
Making a shocking remark on Tuesday while responding to questions of the media over Bihar government's inefficiency in taking adequate measures to prevent deaths of children and other patients due to AES in the state, Bihar Tourism Minister Pramod Kumar made an insensitive remark saying that no one can stop a disease, arguing that the Nitish Kumar administration is working for the people amid the outbreak.
Meanwhile, former Chief Minister Rabri Devi has targeted the 'double engine' government in the state of Bihar and said that negligence of the Nitish Kumar led government has led to the 'murder' of so many children.