PATNA: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday expressed grief over the deaths due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Muzaffarpur in the state and called it an "extremely serious" after opposition members' created uproar in the state Assembly.
"What happened is extremely unfortunate, expressing grief is not enough, it is an extremely serious issue. We have held several meetings and discussed the issue at length," he said in the Assembly where the issue was taken up for discussion.
RJD leaders raised slogans and demanded the resignation of Health Minister Mangal Pandey over the deaths in Muzaffarpur. So far, as many as 154 children have lost their lives in the district.
"We need to conduct a socio-economic survey to evaluate the reason behind the spread of this disease. I also took stock of the situation at the hospitals and talked to the parents of children suffering from AES.
I held a meeting at AIIMS Patna in 2015 and various experts had different views as to what is the reason for it. A report was even sent to the US to get an expert opinion on it and all had different views," Kumar said.
Health Minister, on the other hand dismissed criticism against the government on the issue. "Till June 28, 720 were admitted, 586 were cured and 154 children died. The death rate has been brought down to 21 per cent. As compared to the data from 2011-19, the death rate due to AES has come down over the past few years."
Earlier today, former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi had demanded an investigation by any central investigative agency into the deaths of over 130 children in Bihar due to AES.