New Delhi: The group of ministers (GoM) formed on Japanese Encephalitis (JE), which has claimed over 400 lives in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, this year, has a huge role to play in the next six months, the country`s child rights panel said on Sunday.
"It is a good message that the GoM has been formed and they should send a serious message to the entire country that they are serious about the issue. Each ministry (in the GoM) has a huge role to play," Shanta Sinha, chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) told a news channel.
The government on Saturday formed the GoM, which comprises Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath, Social Justice Minister Mukul Wasnik, Minister of Rural Development and Drinking Water Sanitation Jairam Ramesh, and Minister of State (independent charge) of Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath.
Azad also visited Gorakhpur a few days back.
Sinha added: "Sanitation is a very very important issue. I do hope that the concerned ministry will take care of water and sanitation and train every ward member and train every gram panchayat member to see that water and sanitation mechanisms are in place."
The virus, which causes inflammation and infection in the brain, has also affected parts of Balrampur and Santnagar districts. Gorakhpur`s BRD Medical College, with a bed-strength of 200, was the only referral centre for the bordering regions that were affected by the disease.
"The GoM should give a concrete result at the time of next monsoons in June and July. Unless we see what happens in June and July, we will not know whether the group of ministers has really worked," Sinha said.
High rains combined with the moist conditions of the low-lying areas create ideal conditions for flooding and mosquito breeding, causing a surge in JE cases during the monsoons.