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Now, Mayawati blames Centre for diseases in UP

By Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
September 16, 2008 23:14 IST
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After blaming the Centre for the drought as well as the floods in the state, the Mayawati-led Uttar Pradesh government has now held the United Progressive Alliance-led government responsible for the spread of various diseases in the state.

UP Health Minister Anant Kumar Misra on Tuesday blamed the Centre for the spread of encephalitis, malaria, measles and other vector-borne diseases, which were threatening to turn into an epidemic.

He slammed the government for the "inadequate, substandard and delayed supply" of the required vaccines.

The UP minister even blamed the Centre for "the absence of an uninterrupted cold chain required for storage of various vaccines in the state."

As many as 234 deaths have been registered due to the spread of acute encephalitis in Gorakhpur, Basti, Maharajganj, Siddharthnagar , Sant Kabir Nagar, Kushinagar, Bahraich districts of Eastern UP, according to Misra.

He said, "We have detected about 1,364 cases of acute encephalitis in these districts so far."

"The Centre has not cared to ensure the supply of the required quantity of vaccines needed by the state to tackle various diseases like Japanese encephalitis, malaria , measles , diphtheria , tuberculosis and other vector-borne diseases. It has also failed to make arrangements for the cold chain, which is essential for storage of all such vaccines," he said.

"Ignoring our additional demand for one million JE vaccines, the Centre provided us with just about 4,60,000, leaving a huge gap that was responsible for the spread of the disease in certain districts of Eastern UP," Misra added.

While admitting that the state had received over 19 million vaccines, he quickly added that "as many as 4,50,000 of these were substandard and therefore could not be used."

Alleging that the Centre was discriminating against UP, he told mediapersons, "Despite UP's child population (18 per cent) being the highest in the country, the Centre has allotted more funds for Maharashtra, where the percentage of children is lower."

He added, "Even anti-malaria drugs and kits were in short supply from the Centre, which pays no heed to our various requirements of vaccines, drugs and funds, to tackle several diseases that could take the form of an epidemic."

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow