Bhubaneswar: Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan alongwith other BJP members paid a long pending visit to the Japanese Encephalitis (JE) affected areas in Malkangiri where the death toll has reached 107 with two more deaths on Sunday.
While the Centre had sent a fact finding team and state health officials have visited the site multiple times including a visit by the newly appointed health minister Pradeep Amat, this is the first time BJP leader Pradhan took the pain to visit the state.
After the BJP team reached the district headquarters for a review of the situation almost two months after the break out of JE virus, they also asked for police protection to visit Polkanda which they alleged the Malkangiri SP Mitrabhanu Mohapatra denied. “We had to take BSF protection,” said a senior BJP leader. Pradhan said he will inform the Home Ministry regarding the same.
The team visited Polkanda from where a 10 year old boy Unmesh Madhi had on November 1 written an open letter to PM Modi to save them from the JE virus. “We had instructions from the PM to visit him in person. We also visited the families in the village where children had died of JE. The children here are also suffering from malnutrition, dengue, malaria and other diseases,” he said. The BJP members criticised the state government.