New Delhi: The Union Health Ministry did not act on early warnings over encephalitis. 500 lives could have been saved had the ministry acted on the warnings.
CNN-IBN has learned that the ministry also sat on a field report from National Disaster Management Authority on encephalitis.
Sources say officials from the National Disaster Management Authority met Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on September 15 and asked him to visit Gorakhpur immediately.
The NDMA again sent reminders to the Health Minister after CNN-IBN aired its special report on encephalitis on October 7.
But the Health Ministry delayed setting up a task force as recommended by the NDMA and action was taken only after the High Court stepped in and Rahul Gandhi visited Gorakpur in June.
The big questions raised here are:
Why did Health minister Azad not visit Encephalitis-hit Gorakhpur earlier?
Why did the Health Minister ignore the early warning report from National Disaster Management Authority?
Why did the Health Minister wait for Rahul Gandhi's intervention to visit Gorakhpur?
During the Swine flu outbreak in cities, the government responded immediately. Why did the government ignore an epidemic in rural Gorakhpur?
Can the Health Minister escape blame by accusing the Uttar Pradesh Government for the mess?