An outbreak of malaria in Bastar has severely impacted the security forces on the Naxal front. At least one policeman, Govind Tamga, has died and over 400 have been affected by the disease in the last 10 days. Besides the personnel, a huge number of villagers have been hit by the disease.
The situation is compounded by the lack of medicare in Bastar as the region has only one major hospital in Jagdalpur, which lacks capacity to treat the influx of patients. The male ward of the hospital is brimming over and over 50 personnel of the state police and the CRPF have to lie on the floor. The Bastar IG has asked the government to provide immediate help.
“Our operations have been affected. We have asked the state government to immediately take note of the situation and ensure medicare for policemen,” said IG S R P Kalluri.
“We have given special instructions to our forces posted in sensitive areas,” he said.
Such has been the impact that at least two anti-Naxal operations in the region were to be curtailed last week as the personnel were hit by the disease in forests, forcing the commanding officers to order an immediate retreat.
Bastar’s malaria officer Sanjay Basak said the sudden outbreak of malaria is a serious issue. “So far we were giving them chloroquine and primaquine for malaria, but these have proved ineffective. We have taken advice from the WHO’s officers about other medicines,” he added.
While some policemen, whose condition turned serious, have been airlifted to Raipur, at least 200 are still in police camps of interior areas and yet to receive medicare.
Speaking to TV reporters, the personnel admitted to hospital said they were not given proper care and were forced to spend on their own.