With six more deaths reported in the last 24 hours in North Bengal, the toll in encephalitis outbreak reached 117 Saturday. Minister of state for health Chandrima Bhattacharya claimed the “situation is under control” now even as the state government has begun a drive to close down unhygienic piggeries.
Bhattacharya reached north Bengal Saturday on the directions of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to assess the severity of the crisis and supervise hospitals in districts dealing with encephalitis cases.
The Chief Minister Friday suspended three chief medical officers of health for their alleged delay in response to the encephalitis outbreak.
Bhattacharya Saturday also held a meeting with North Bengal Development Minister Gautam Deb and senior health officials.
She later said, “The situation is under control now. We have directed health officials to keep the blood test centres open 24 hours. We are also trying to distribute medicated mosquito nets in the affected areas.”
She added the government would request the Centre to set up two encephalitis treatment centres in Coochbehar and Jalpaiguri.
Meanwhile, the state health department Friday identified 500 piggeries in Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling districts that would be closed down by the state animal husbandry department.
Swapan Debnath, minister of state for animal husbandry, said, “We have so far identified 500 piggeries that are spreading the virus. We are shutting down these piggeries. We are buying livestock from the owners on government rates. Only those pigs which are carrying the virus would be purchased and would be treated in government farms. Once the crisis will be over, we will return those pigs to its owners free of cost.”
The drive to close down “unhygienic” piggeries would continue.
Piggeries told to leave Kolkata
Kolkata Municipal Corporation Saturday asked all piggeries and khatals to quit the city by month end, failing which a drive would be launched against them.Atin Ghosh Mayor-in-council, Health, said that the step was being taken to make the city healthier and beautiful. (PTI)