Odishatv Bureau

Malkangiri: While the death toll due to Japanese Encephalitis in Malkangiri district rose to 108 today, a five-member team of the BJP led by Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan reached the district this morning to review the situation.

“In the preliminary state it seems that not only Japanese Encephalitis, but also Malaria Dengue, and malnutrition are the biggest problems affecting this region. The health index here is quite weak here. It should not be dealt with crisis management, but responsibility has to taken to improve the livelihood and employment for a developed health infrastructure,” said Dharmendra Pradhan after taking stock of the situation in the district.

But surprisingly, the district police refused to provide security to the Union Minister for his visit to the affected areas. Later, the party leaders visited Polkonda village wearing bullet-proof jackets accompanied by Border Security Force (BSF) officials.

The team, including BJP State president Basant Panda and senior leaders KV Singhdeo and Bhrugu Baxipatra visited the affected areas, including Polkonda and Dariguda village and had talks with the locals. It also visited the district headquarters hospital to assess the situation. Besides, the Union Minister also met Umesh Madhi,a 10-year old boy, who had written a letter to the Prime Minister seeking his intervention to tackle the situation.

When asked, Baxipatra said "The State Government had given permission for the visit and assured us to provide security. But today, the Malkangiri SP refused to give security. Later, we visited the JP-affected areas under BSF security. The Union Minister will submit the survey report to the Prime Minister. The Centre would take a strong action after that."

He further slammed that State Government and said it has not shown promptness to prevent the vector-borne disease.

Earlier, the Union Minister’s visit, which was scheduled for November 4, was deferred on the basis of a recommendation from the State government asking him not to visit the areas on the day.