Jeypore/Bhubaneswar: At a time when four children lost their lives at the Malkangiri district headquarters hospital in a single day today due to the Japanese Encephalitis taking the death toll to 112, visit of Minister for Tribal Welfare Sudam Marndi and BJD MP from Berhampur Siddhant Mohapatra to Borigumma block in Koraput district to inaugurate a football tournament today raised eyebrows among many in the political circle in the State.
Mohapatra, who is also an Ollywood actor, was seen humming few lines of popular songs of his movies for the gathering at the football tournament inaugural function.
Replying to queries asked by newsmen regarding any possibility his visit to Malkangiri district, Marndi said, “Nothing can happen with my visit to the district. Everyone beginning from local minister and top government officials have visited Malkangiri district. Even teams of experts have also gone there.”
The Minister for Tribal Welfare also stated, “We are monitoring the Malkangiri situation from the State Secretariat. I am handling the matter as a minister akin to a Captain utilises his army in a battle.”
Notably, Marndi and Mohapatra were at Borigumma to attend the Maa Budhi Thakurani Football Tournament as the Chief Guests located only 135 kms away from Malkangiri town where 112 children have died till date due to the encephalitis.
Reacting to the remarks of Marndi, Congress Chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati said, “Though the MP and minister went to Borigumma block to attend the football tournament, they did not seem to be bothered by the child deaths.”
Mounting attacks on the Chief Minister and BJD supremo, Bahinipati stated, “Naveen Babu is fully aware of this thing and knows children who lost their lives are not voters.”
Expressing similar views, the General Secretary of Odisha BJP Bhrugu Bauxipatra said, “Though more than 150 children have died of the JE, neither a minister nor the CM has paid a visit to the area.”
Meanwhile, four children lost their lives because of the vector-borne disease while undergoing treatment at the ICU of the Malkangiri district headquarters hospital.