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Odishatv Bureau

Malkangiri: The families of the children died of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) will get Rs 3 lakh and a pucca house each, announced chief minister Naveen Patnaik here today conveying his condolences to the bereaved families.

Patnaik landed at DNK ground in the district headquarters town and addressed a public meeting on the sidelines of inaugurating and laying foundation stones of various welfare projects.

He chaired a review meeting over the current situation arising out of outbreak of the vector borne disease and precautionary measures being taken to tackle it. Transport Minister Ramesh Majhi, MP Balabhadra Majhi, local MLAs, additional chief secretary, Collector and chief district medical Officer (CDMO) attended the meeting.

After the meeting, Patnaik assured the local residents of taking all steps to check the deadly disease and all round development. "I have reviewed the health situation in the district. All preventive measures have been taken against recurrence of JE. 96 per cent children have already been vaccinated. The remaining four percent of children will be vaccinated in next three or four days. 42,000 mosquito nets have been supplied. About 1 lakh nets will be supplied shortly. All round development in Malkangiri district is my priority. I am very much concerned about the death of the children in Malkangiri district. I convey my condolences to the bereaved families. I have announced ex-gratia of Rs 3 lakh to each family. Besides, special allotment for pucca house will be made for these families. Our fight against disease and poverty will continue", Patnaik told reporters.

Congress sought the number of kids whose families are entitled to get the ex-gratia. "121 have died in medical out of which 37 were affected with JE and remaining died of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES). Government should confirm first that how many would get the compensation while the number of deaths is above 500, Congress leader and former MP Paradeep Majhi said.
BJP criticised the chief minister for such announcement ahead of panchayat elections.

"This is the traditional political stunt of chief minister. The SUM hospital vicitms got the ex-gratia two days after the incident. The tribal children died four months ago and he felt necessities to give compensation just a day before announcement of the date for Panchayat polls"BJP general secretary Bhrugu Buxipatra said.

Congress and BJP had called for Malkangiri bandh protesting CM's visit today due to which vehicular communication was disrupted and shops remained closed. Police detained 10 Congress activists and five of BJP prior to the visit of the CM.

Apprehending any eventuality during the visit, 32 platoons of police were deployed in and around the town. Despite tight security arrangements, 15 BJP activists protested the BJD chief waiving black flag. However, they were taken to custody by the security forces.

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