With snakebites emerging as the leading cause of natural disaster deaths in Odisha, the State government has decided to ensure deployment of doctors at primary health centres in snakebite-prone areas and make ambulances available for swift transfer of patients to hospitals.As many as 1,716 people lost their lives due to snakebites during the past three years. The number of casualties due to snakebite, highest among all disasters, accounts for about 37% of the total disaster deaths (4,689) during the period.“We have asked the Health and Family Welfare Department to ensure availability of medical officers at primary health centres in snakebite-prone areas. Besides, required number of 108 ambulances will be made available in blocks for shifting snakebite patients to the nearest health institution,” said Bishnupada Sethi, Managing Director of the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority.The State government is working on a plan to bring all snakebite victims to the nearest health institution at the earliest for medical examination and administering anti-venom. Highest deaths The highest of 164 deaths has been reported from Balasore district, followed by 147 in Ganjam and 145 in both Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj during the period.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday alleged that the Congress praised controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, “whose words have triggered blasts in Sri Lanka killing 300 people”, and its leaders were baying for his blood in their dream.Addressing an election rally here in Madhya Pradesh, he said the Rahul Gandhi-led party has nothing but hatred for him, but he has support of the entire country.“Zakir Naik’s words have caused blasts in Sri Lanka, leaving 300 people dead. His TV channel was banned two or three days ago,” Mr. Modi said.“Who is Zakir Naik? He is the one whom (Congress veteran) Digvijaya Singh used to glorify unabashedly. You will be shocked to learn that Zakir Naik addressed Indian police officers, that too on terrorism, under the (previous) Congress dispensation,” he said.“Shame on Congress… and its vote bank politics. They are glorifying Zakir Naik and calling him an apostle of peace,” he added.Naik, a Mumbai-based televangelist accused of inciting youth for terror activities and giving inflammatory speeches, is said to be currently residing in Malaysia.Apparently referring to a reported statement of Congress leader and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, the Prime Minister said, “I heard that a Congress motormouth leader came here and said hit Modi for such a six that he lands out of the boundary dead. This was the statement of a Congress leader. Think. They have so much hatred for your Modi, so much hatred that they have started dreaming of killing Modi.”‘India batting for Modi’ “But they are forgetting that from Modi’s side, not just the people of Madhya Pradesh but of entire India are batting,” Mr. Modi said.The PM said the Congress has to now clarify its position on terrorism. “The Congress people should reveal whether they are playing for India or Pakistan,” he said.