Santosh Patnaik

CPI(M) opens gruel centres in Makalavaram panchayat

CPI(M) promises more in problem areas

Tribals still not having potable water, says party leader

MUNCHINGPUT (VISAKHAPATNAM DT.): Six new cases of cutaneous anthrax were detected among Kondhs – a primitive tribal group at Karlapodur and Hatikal hamlets in Laxmipuram panchayat, about 20 km from here and 200 km from Visakhapatnam even as the Health Department stepped up its effort to contain the spread of the bacterial infection.

In new cases – five of them from Karlapodur on Andhra-Orissa border were confirmed after the Kondhus – a primitive tribal group consumed the meat of a cow carcass on April 23.

With this the number of patients affected by anthrax after consuming dead meat/cutting the carcasses has increased to 65 since the first case was reported in March. “The infection is under control,” according to Joint Director of Animal Husbandry Y. Simhachalam.

The patients – Mandi Chenda, 25, Korra Malli, 20, Antala Dipai, 60, Korra Sodanam, 28, Korra Komati, 26 and the lone case from Hatikal Parlu Vikram, 17 developed skin infection and multiple wounds on their body since past two to seven days.

Dattum Sida, who is from Hatikada and left King George Hospital after three weeks of treatment against medical advice, was admitted to Paderu Community Health Centre two days ago. Dattum, 35, said he was happy at Paderu as he was able to meet his relatives regularly. Asked as to why he got discharged from KGH, he said that to take part in voting on the advice of village elders, he discontinued the treatment.

Responding to the gravity of situation and to educate the tribals against consumption of dead meat, the CPI (M) opened gruel centres at Karlapodur and Mebha in Makalavaram panchayat on Monday.

Lashing out at the government for its callous attitude in preventing the spread of anthrax, Bhadrachalam MP Dr. Midiyam Babu Rao said there was total failure in vaccinating the cattle both on Andhra-Orissa border – where anthrax cases were being reported regularly since 2002.

He said they would continue the gruel centres for a month and open more at other problematic areas and asked the government to declare a medical emergency in the agency area and fill all the vacant posts in the Health Department. CPI (M) district secretary Ch. Narsinga Rao said in proportionate to the population of tribals, Rs.6,000 crores should have been allocated. But the government had spent less than Rs.200 crores and people were still dying for want of potable water.