New Delhi: Days after the Supreme Court bench hearing a PIL on the Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) outbreak in Bihar said, “This PIL raises a matter of grave concern about nutrition, sanitisation and hygiene,” the death toll today rose to 132 in Muzaffarpur.
The 132 deaths include 111 from the S K Medical College and Hospital and 21 from Kejriwal Hospital.
The court on Monday observed that the deaths due to the outbreak raise valid questions on the availability of medicines along with the public policy in place to counter the current scenario.
The court observed that all the victims were children therefore, it is important to get answers. Issuing the notice, the court has asked the parties to file an affidavit within seven days.
The plea filed by two advocates, Manohar Pratap and Sanpreet Singh Ajmani, contended that the state and Central governments should work in tandem to immediately arrange 500 ICUs (intensive care units) with required medical professionals to deal with the situation.
The petitioners contended that the state government must compensate the families of each of the dead with Rs 10 lakh.
The death toll has been on a steady rise for the past month, claiming the lives of children, mostly from poor and impoverished families living in rural Muzaffarpur district.
Meanwhile, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is yet to break his silence over the epidemic-like spread of the disease.
Moreover, a Bihar court on Monday also ordered an investigation into charges of negligence against Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey over mishandling of the health crisis in the state.
Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Suryakant Tiwari ordered the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate to investigate the charges based on a case filed by social activist Tamanna Hashmi.
Hashmi alleged that the Ministers did nothing to sensitise people in Bihar about AES though the disease had been killing children in the state for years.
With IANS inputs