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Congress piles child death heat on CM

Behrampore, June 17: The Murshidabad district headquarters is hotting up before chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s Thursday trip to speak to health officials on the mystery disease stalking infants across several subdivisions.

District Congress president and Lok Sabha member Adhir Chowdhury claimed today that he had spoken to Union health minister Sushma Swaraj, who expressed concern over the deaths. “I spoke to her over phone and she promised to send joint secretary Ashok Gupta to look into the fever,” Chowdhury said. His party has called a 12-hour bandh in the district on Friday.

The fever, which has been a common symptom in all the deaths, has now reportedly spread to Raninagar, Islampur, Nabagram and Panchgram. The unofficial toll in the past two weeks has mounted to 60. District chief medical officer of health Bijon Kumar Mondal said the toll was 19.

The Congress accused the administration of suppressing facts. A party demonstration in front of the health office here this morning turned unruly when protesters invaded Mondal’s chamber and tore off documents.

Chowdhury said he would meet the chief minister and complain to him about the apathy shown by the health officials in tackling “this outbreak”.

Bhattacharjee is not going to tour the neighbourhoods where the children had died or the hospitals where they had been admitted. He will take stock of the situation from the circuit house.

Director of health services Prabhakar Chatterjee is arriving here this evening. Chatterjee will tour the affected areas tomorrow and submit a report to the chief minister on Thursday.

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