Altogether 130 children of Assam with congenital heart disease have been selected to be operated upon at government cost in Bangalore, state Health minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma said here on Tuesday.

Assam has a considerable number of children with congenital heart disease, particularly in districts in turmoil, he told reporters.

During a three-day screening here for congenital heart disease cases from July 1, nearly 1000 children reported and 130 were selected from them.

For the first time in the country, Mr. Sarma said, Assam government launched the scheme early this year in which the government would bear the cost of operation and treatment for such children at the Narayana Hrudalaya Hospitals, Bangalore.

The government had announced the scheme making a budgetary allotment of Rs. two crore thinking that about 200 children were victims of congenital heart disease, based on a report of the Guwahati Medical College Hospital, Mr. Sarma said.

But the three-day screening alone showed nearly 1000 children with 300 others lined up in the Assam Medical College Hospital in Dibrugarh, he said.

Though its medical correlation to congenital heart disease was yet to be established, Mr. Sarma said, most of the children at the screening were from conflict-hit districts.

Dr Devi Shetty, founder of Narayana Hrudayalaya, had informed the minister that most of his child patients with congenital heart disease were from trouble-torn Afghanistan and Iraq.