The malaria situation in Madhya Pradesh has reached a critical level with the death toll consistently increasing every day and the opposition parties slamming the ruling BJP government for its failure to contain the epidemic like situation.

While the exact state wide death toll is not clear, tribal areas are largely bearing the brunt of the disease.

According to reports, 35 deaths have been reported from the tribal dominated, malnutrition-affected Sidhi district alone, which has emerged as the hub of the malaria epidemic during the last two weeks.

However, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) claims to have conducted ground-level investigations to counter the official death toll of 35.

The CPI(M) has alleged that over 85 deaths have occurred in and around Sidhi district, citing information that the party's fact-finding team has gathered from the affected areas including Nimuch, Mandsaur etc.

“The situation is alarming and the state government has proved ineffective in containing it. The health minister should be sacked,” said CPI(M) state general secretary Badal Saroj.

Leader of Opposition in the state assembly and Congress MLA Ajay Singh a.k.a. Rahul Bhaiya had staged a dharna before the Sidhi district collectorate a few days back to protest against government inaction.

Chauphal Pawaya and surrounding villages like Kuthar, have seen over 17 deaths including those of several children.

The villages, just 16 km from the district headquarters, have exposed the state government's weakness in ensuring health coverage in rural areas.

“All these deaths occurred between October 20th and October 30th. We set up a health camp during the first week of November. Since then, there have been no deaths,” J.N.Kansotia, Commissioner, health department, told The Hindu.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan recently visited the affected villages and offered cash assistance of Rs. 10,000 each to the families of the deceased.

Last week at an event in Bhopal, state health minister Narottam Mishra told reporters he was not fully aware of the situation, resulting in opposition parties demanding his resignation.

The government recently removed the district collector, civil surgeon and the Chief Medical Health Officer of Sidhi.