Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed grief over the incident. He also announced Rs 3 lakh ex gratia assistance to the kin of the victims.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the Central and Odisha governments on the spurt of snakebite fatalities and absence of governmental measures to reduce such deaths
The apex rights body, taking cognizance of a petition filed by a civil rights lawyer, Radhakanta Tripathy. sought replies from the authorities concerned within six weeks.
Snakebite deaths alone accounted for more than 40 per cent of the total disaster deaths with the cases more than doubled to 1,159 in 2021 from 522 in 2015 mainly due to shortage of anti-snake venom drugs stocks in the government-run-health facilities even in in the SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack. The anti-venom drugs are also not readily available in the open market in the state, Tripathy contended.
The petition pointed out that on an average 58,000 deaths occur per year in India due to snakebite, of which 70 per cent in low-altitude areas of nine states, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
India is drastically affected by snakebite and accounts for almost half the total number of annual deaths in the world. Considering all these facts, the World Health Organization (WHO) has included the snakebite envenoming as a neglected tropical disease, and the WHO has launched a strategy in 2019 for preventing and controlling snakebites, the petition maintained.