Flashback 2014: Chhattisgarh remained in news for wrong reasons

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Raipur, Dec 21: Chhattisgarh was in the news in 2014 for all the wrong reasons be it increasing Maoist strikes resulting in heavy losses to lives of security forces or the death of 13 young women after surgeries at state-run sterilisation camps in Bilaspur.

The Raman Singh government remained busy warding off Opposition attacks on many fronts, including the anti-counter insurgency operation after a series of Naxal attacks, health facilities after loss of lives following tubectomies and death of newborn infants in Bilaspur and farmers issue over paddy procurement.


The year, however, brought some cheers to cricket lovers as the Raipur-based international stadium hosted eight matches of Champions League T-20 tournament and students, particularly from the tribal region, as the Centre cleared the process of setting up a national tribal university in Bastar. Singh faced worst criticism from Opposition Congress after the botched sterilisation tragedy in Bilaspur in November which claimed lives of 13 women and left over a 100 critical.

While 12 of the 83 women, who were operated upon at Pendari village on November 8 died, a Baiga tribe woman was  the lone casualty from the camps at Pendra block, where around 56 women underwent surgeries at three different camps on November 10, after they developed post operative complications.

Under attack from Opposition and women associations, Singh constituted a judicial commission to probe the incident and terminated the services of laproscopic surgeon R K Gupta who had conducted the sterilisation at Pendari camp and Chief Medical and Health Official Bilaspur R K Bhange supervising the procedure.

An FIR was registered against Gupta following which he was arrested. Three officials of Health and Food and Drug department were also suspended. Moreover, Ramesh Mahawar, director of drug company-Mahawar Pharma Pvt Ltd which supplied "poor quality" medicines, and his son Sumit, were arrested and all products of their manufacturing unit banned in the state.

According to state Health Minister Amar Agrawal, medical reports confirmed the presence of poisonous substance in the medicines distributed at the tubectomies camps.

The Congress also blamed the state government for "poor health facilities" following the deaths of at least 15 infants, most of them reportedly born premature, at the state-run Chhattisgarh Institute Medical Science in December. Throughout the year, the state faced one deadly Maoist attack after another in which as many as 62 security personnel were killed.


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