Hinting at Chinese conspiracy behind the linking of deaths of children in Bihar's Muzaffarpur due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) to the lychee fruit, MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy demanded a probe into the same, reports Zee News.
Rudy asserted that it is an attempt to damage the renowned status of Indian lychee grown in Muzaffarpur in the world. He demanded urgent attention to safeguard the litchi farmers from being caught up at the receiving end of the foul play.
Rudy said, “We are being told that the reason behind the children's deaths is lychee, but the fruit is being consumed since thousands of years and no deaths were reported earlier,” asserting that such a baseless hypothesis has severely affected the fruit’s trade in Bihar.
The MP said that the lychee is a 15-day crop whose 40 per cent of the global cultivation happens in India and Muzaffarpur accounts for a lion’s share of this where the fruit is grown in around 32,000 hectares. China is the second largest producer of the fruit.
Owing to the reports, the lychee produce, worth crores, has been stocked at the ports which is affecting the exports market drastically. Around 50 per cent of the produce is left unsold at the markets as people have stopped the consumption of lychee juice, he said.
News agency PTI quoted child specialist Arun Shah who formerly headed the Bihar chapter of Indian Association of Pediatrics as saying that the consumption of unripe lychee containing a high concentration of toxin could be behind the AES outbreak in Muzaffarpur.
The Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) has claimed the lives of 158 children in Bihar, with Muzaffarpur being the worst-affected with 122 deaths.
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