Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar was today greeted with `go back’ slogans by angry protestors when he visited Sri Krishna Medical College Hospital (SKMCH) in Muzaffarpur- the epicenter of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES), a disease that has killed 133 children, according to unofficial estimates, in Bihar this year.
The government, however, put the death toll at 104, of which 103 deaths were reported from Muzaffarpur and one from the Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH). 85 children had died at SKMCH and 18 deaths were reported from the Kejriwal Maternity Clinic in Muzaffarpur, as per official records.The government said another 151 AES patients were under treatment in Muzaffarpur.
Protestors gathered outside the SKMCH shouted, “Nitish Kumar wapas jao (go back)”. They were upset that the chief minister had visited Muzaffarpur only after three weeks since the spike in AES cases this month.
Attendants of patients alleged government apathy while pointing out that the district authorities had placed a water tanker at the hospital only on the day of the CM’s visit despite continued water scarcity forcing the attendants to buy water bottles for Rs 20 – 25 for past several days.
The chief minister has come in for severe criticism by the opposition over government’s alleged inept handling of the AES cases.