Gorakhpur, Aug 13: Union Health Minister J P Nadda, while addressing the press along with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, announced the setting up of a viral research centre in Gorakhpur to tackle the menace of encephalitis. The medical centre would be set-up at a cost of Rs 85 crore, Nadda said.

“I have approved regional medical research centre that will be established in Gorakhpur at an expense of Rs 85 crore. The medical centre would be undertaking research activities to find long-lasting solution for vector-borne diseases, apart from creating vaccines,” Nadda told reporters here.

“The research centre would significantly help not only Gorakhpur, but the entire region, which is facing the challenge from vector-borne diseases. Apart from the medical centre, the union government has assured the state of all possible assistance, as it has already been providing,” the Health Minister added.

Yogi Adityanath said he had appealed the Centre to set-up the medical research centre as the challenge of encephalitis needs to be uprooted, rather than treating its symptoms.

Earlier in the day, Nadda and Adityanath visited the BRD Medical College, where over 70 children have died in the past 6 days. Most of the deceased were admitted to the ACE (acute encephalitis syndrome) ward. Both the Ministers denied the allegations of oxygen disruption leading to the spree of deaths.

“As clarified earlier, the oxygen disruption lasted for only two hours. No death was recorded in the two-hour period. But our government is committed to fix responsibility. If there was any negligence, no one would be spared,” the UP CM said.

Retaliating to the demand of Congress seeking his resignation, Adityanath stated, “Congress has lost all sensitivity. They want to do politics over the death of infants. Since this issue has been propped up, let me tell you that this same Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was the Health Minister in erstwhile government at Centre, said the problem of encephalitis is state-specific. Centre has no role to play.”

The UP government has ordered a probe into the 63 deaths which occurred between August 8-12. The investigation would be headed by the Chief Secretary. The state health minister Siddharth Nath Singh, while addressing the media on Saturday, said the role of Lucknow-based gas supplier Pushpa Sales would also be looked into.