New Delhi: Congress party on Wednesday launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over encephalitis deaths in Bihar's Muzaffarpur, which has claimed the lives of 112 children.
"On one side, Prime Minister Modi says that the economy of India is sky-rocketing, while on the other, children are dying in his own country. This shows carelessness on his part. It is his prerogative to ensure timely preventive steps to eliminate the disease. Why is the central government not taking the issue seriously?" Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi said, while addressing a press conference here.
Gogoi, who is also an MP from Assam, took a jibe at Dr Harsh Vardhan, the Health and Family Welfare Minister.
"Earlier when Harsh Vardhan was the health minister, he had promised 100 beds for the hospital, and even now he has made a similar promise. The promises made by him have always remained on the pages," Gogoi said.
The Congress leader further alleged that the two hospitals in Muzaffarpur -- Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) and Kejriwal Hospital -- lack beds, medicines and doctors.
"The state health minister Mangal Pandey asked the score of the World Cup match between India and Pakistan during a State Health Department meeting. The announcement to increase the beds in the hospitals is made every year but no one takes the responsibility," Gogoi added.
The death toll due to encephalitis rose to 112 on Wednesday, officials said.
As many as 93 children have died at (SKMCH) alone, while 19 others lost their lives at Kejriwal Hospital.
The State Health Society had on Tuesday ordered to delegate more doctors in Muzaffarpur from Darbhanga, Supaul, Madhubani, Samastipur and Sitamarhi districts.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday visited the SKMCH to take stock of the encephalitis situation. Earlier, Kumar had announced an ex gratia compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the families of the children who died due to the AES.
He had also given directions to the health department, district administration and doctors to take necessary measures to fight the outbreak.
The AES is a viral disease that causes flu-like symptoms such as high fever, vomiting and in extreme cases, can lead to coma, brain dysfunction, seizure and inflammation of heart and kidney.