Accusing government of 'hiding' figures in Gorakhpur encephalitis deaths, Congress MLAs stage walkout from UP Assembly

Lucknow: The Congress walked out of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly on Friday, alleging that the state government had imposed an "emergency" in BRD Medical College to hide actual figures of encephalitis deaths in Gorakhpur from the media.

The matter was raised during the question hour by Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Ajay Kumar Lallu. He sought to know the number of deaths due to Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES).

 Accusing government of hiding figures in Gorakhpur encephalitis deaths, Congress MLAs stage walkout from UP Assembly

File image of Uttar Pradesh Assembly. PTI

Responding to him, health minister Siddharth Nath Singh claimed that compared to previous years, encephalitis cases and deaths have come down due to the government's sustained efforts.

"Due to training and awareness, the encephalitis cases and deaths have come down. In the budget, for the first time Rs 20 crore was earmarked for the awareness drive and people from all walks (of life) were associated with the campaign due to which we got success in containing the disease," he said.

Lallu, however, claimed that in Gorakhpur alone scores of people had died due to encephalitis.

"Emergency has been imposed on the media in the BRD college, where no regular bulletins are issued about the cases and deaths", he said.

Refuting the allegations, Singh clarified that "media could not differentiate between child deaths in PICU (Pediatric ICU) and MICU (Medical ICU) due to which confusion prevailed at times".

There is no emergency imposed on anyone, he said.

"It's the Congress party which believes in imposing emergency. Bulletins and information are given whenever sought, but entry of media is disallowed in PICU and MICU," he added.

Dissatisfied with the reply, the CLP leader termed the government as "non-serious" and accused it of hiding the real encephalitis data.
He then led the walkout of his party members.

Updated Date: Dec 21, 2018 17:02:02 IST