LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath blamed the opposition parties that ruled the state from 1977 to 2017 on Wednesday for their "zero contribution" in checking encephalitis, which took the lives of over 50 thousand children in this 40-year period.
"The encephalitis patients were first seen (in Uttar Pradesh) in 1977. No initiative was taken by any government to check its spread to 38 districts of eastern UP, including VIP constituency Raebareli. Between 1977 and 2017, 50,000 children aged between one and 15 years died due to it and the opposition, which ruled the state then, had zero contribution to check it," the chief minister said in his address in the state Assembly.
Among those died, 70 to 90 per cent were Dalits or belonged to minority communities, he said, adding that he raked up the issue when he first became an MP in 1998. Citing figures, the chief minister said while in 2016, there were 2,900 cases of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) accounting for 491 deaths, there were 3,911 AES cases and 641 deaths in 2017.
Till August 30 in 2019, 938 AES cases were detected and 35 deaths reported due to it, he said, adding that his government was trying to control the spread of the disease through team work and focus on cleanliness.
Claiming that unlike in some neighbouring states, there was no spread of any vector-borne disease in Uttar Pradesh, Adityanath said, "There is no spread of dengue, malaria, filariasis, encephalitis, chikungunya. This is due to our focus on the Swacch Bharat campaign, on which the state has got an award for its attempts."
He said on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs participated in an anti-plastic campaign in different wards of the state capital here. "I urge the MLAs to launch a similar campaign in their respective constituencies also and ensure the success of the Swachh Bharat campaign. Those MLAs, whose constituencies turn out to be the best, can be awarded also," the chief minister said.