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Malaria toll rises to 40

Malaria patients at a primary health centre in Gandacharra. (PTI)

Agartala, June 22: Malaria toll continues to rise in the hilly interiors of Tripura despite a slew of measures initiated by the state government over the past fortnight.

According to official estimates of the health department of the state government, 40 people, mostly children, have so far died in the raging malaria that broke out in the hilly interiors of the state in Gandacherra and Longtaria valley subdivisions of Dhalai district but since then the killer disease has spread to Khowai, Sabroom and Kanchanpur subdivisions of the state.

Unofficially, however, the death toll has already crossed a hundred.

Considering the gravity of the situation, the state cabinet yesterday held an emergency meeting to discuss how best to deal with the deaths and ailments caused by malaria.

Health minister Badal Chowdhury, who had visited all the affected areas of the state during the past week, briefed the cabinet about the reasons for the outbreak and the steps taken to curb the escalation of the disease.

Briefing the media after the meeting, Chowdhury said 11 ministers have been put in charge of the eight districts of the state.

“Their job will be to supervise the relief work being done in affected areas and call for assistance and materials for treatment whenever necessary,” said Chowdhury. He also informed the media that a team of experts from Delhi — Dr Abadesh Roy, additional director in the Union health ministry, malaria regional director Dr Satyajit Sen and another expert — will arrive in the state tomorrow to take stock of the situation and assess the requirement of medicine.

The ministers who will be in charge of the districts are Bijita Nath, Tapan Chakraborty, Bhanulal Saha, Shahid Chowdhury, Aghore Debbarma, Khagendra Jamatya, Manindra Reang, Manik Dey and Badal Chowdhury.

“They will start work from Sunday itself; besides, we have cancelled leave of all health employees and doctors in the affected districts. The relief operations will continue till the disease is completely controlled; medicine supply is being rushed from New Delhi, though we have sufficient stock of medicine till now,” said Chowdhury.