Will cross-check claims of swine flu deaths: Minister

Many MLAs on Wednesday questioned the government claim that no death from swine flu has been reported in the state, forcing Minister of State for Medical, Health and Family Welfare Shankh Lal Manjhi to assure that he would inquire into specific information about swine flue deaths given by members.

The government claim, made during question hour, sparked a furore in the Assembly, with several members saying that people had died from swine flue in their constituencies and many were undergoing treatment for the disease. Some of them had names of the patients.

The question was submitted by Bahujan Samaj Party's Dharampal Singh and Bhartiya Janata Party's Shyam Dev Rai Choudhary, Satya Prakash Aggrawal alias Kailash Dairy Waley and Sunil Kumar Singh Yadav.

Since Manjhi was not present at the start of the question hour, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Azam Khan read out the written reply which mentioned that no swine flu death has been confirmed officially in the state. The legislators got agitated and termed the reply as misleading.

Meanwhile, Manjhi arrived in the House and was pulled up by Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey for getting late. But he too read out the same written reply, drawing protests.

Dharampal Singh questioned the minister's claim, saying: "One woman has died due to swine flu while two other patients are admitted in Agra. There is no facility for their treatment. District health officials have confirmed the death due to swine flu."

Rashtriya Lok Dal's Puran Prakash gave an example of a swine flu death at Kosi in Mathura. "I also have the Chief Medical Officer's death certificate which mentions that the patient died due to swine flu," he added.

Satya Prakash Aggrawal said he had details of eight deaths due to swine flu in Meerut and several patients who are undergoing treatment for the disease. His party colleague Shyam Dev Rai Choudhary gave names of two patients who died due to swine flu in Varanasi. Many other members also questioned the government claim.

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