Kerala minister’s liquor remark rocks assembly

TRIVANDRUM — Kerala Health Minister Adoor Prakash’s remark that some of the fever deaths reported in the last few weeks were due to liquor consumption plunged the State Assembly into turmoil on Wednesday.

By T K Devasia

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Published: Thu 29 Sep 2011, 9:36 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 2:07 AM

The opposition members, who took strong objection to the minister’s remark, trooped into the well of the house demanding an apology. Though he said his statement was misinterpreted and expressed regret, the opposition did not relent. The agitated members returned to the seats only after Chief Minister Oommen Chandy offered apologies for the minister’s remark on behalf of the government. Deputy leader of opposition Kodiyeri Balakrishnan raised the issue soon after question hour, saying that Adoor Prakash’s remark was a shame for the entire state. He asked the Minister to withdraw his statement.

The minister tried to explain that he had only reflected some of the views expressed by the team of medical specialists from the Centre who had toured the State to study the fever situation. The team, he said, was of the view that a specific percentage of fever deaths were on account of ailments of the liver.

He said that he will table the report of the central team in the house soon. The viral fever that has been crippling Kerala during monsoon for the last few years has claimed 179 lives so far this year. The opposition had staged a walkout in the Assembly on Tuesday, saying that the government had failed to check the spread of the fever. They said that lack of medicines and shortage of doctors in government hospitals had made life miserable for the affected.

The opposition said more than 300 persons had died about 10,000 people were suffering from fever in the state.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan said that United Democratic Front government was attributing the deaths to liquor consumption to hide its failure to tackle the situation. But it is unfortunate that the government has tried to paint those who have died without proper medical treatment alcoholics.

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