Why not any ex-gratia for child deaths, Harichandan asks CM Naveen

Malkangiri: Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Prasad Harichandan on Monday targeted chief minister Naveen Patnaik for not announcing any compensation to the kin of the victims of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) in Malkangiri district. Though official figures put the JE related toll at 31, media reports said it touched 129.

Harichandan blamed the State government for extending any financial support to the families of the deceased children who lost their lives due to JE.

“If the CM can announce compensation in any other mishaps, doesn’t he feel that for these deaths of children financial support should be extended to their kin?” asked Harichandan.

“Are the lives of children are not valuable”? he pointed out.

The Congress leader also criticised the Naveen Patnaik government for not visiting the tribal-dominated district after the outbreak of deadly vector-borne disease.

“The CM is spending government money by visiting places from where he wants to gain politically. If a chief minister can’t visit a district where more than hundred children have died so far, he is not fit to hold the post of a chief minister”, Harichandan rued.

He threatened that the party will stage demonstration and call for Malkangiri bandh whenever Patnaik will visit the district in the future.

A week ago the Malkangiri district administration has started vaccinating children between one and 15 years of age against the JE virus. An official said 2,18,027 children from across the district have been identified for vaccination after a three-day door-to-door survey was conducted.

“At least 175 teams have been formed to carry out the vaccination work. The process will be monitored by 87 supervisors,” said Malkangiri collector, K Sudarshan Chakravarty. The vaccination drive will continue till December 15.