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Subhash Pathak, Hindustan Times
Patna, November 02, 2012
Notwithstanding a high-level meeting chaired by health minister Ashwini Kumar Chaubey and subsequent instructions issued to municipal bodies, fogging to eliminate mosquitos remains a far cry in the state capital and other districts affected by dengue. Soon after the high-level meeting held on Tuesday, Patna municipal corporation commissioner, PK Pal claimed to have intensified fogging in different areas of the state capital. However, the exercise was nowhere visible even on Thursday.

Though PMC mayor Afzal Imam claimed, that four mechanised devices were operating full throttle in different circles, officials concerned failed to stipulate the areas fogged or to be fogged, when asked for details.

"Fogging is on. If it's not visible, I cannot help it," said the mayor. Citing practical problems in carrying out fogging on a large scale in keeping with the spread of Dengue disease, which has affected close to 248 persons in the state capital alone, officials said, the exercise could not be done with just four machines and limited manpower.

"It is simply impossible to cover a spread of around 109 squarekilometer town area with just three machines, as one of them usually remains confined to VVIP areas," said an official.

Commissioner Pal refused to talk on this issue, citing his pre-occupation with the chief minister Nitish Kumar, who was reviewing the preparations for the forthcoming Adhikar Rally at Gandhi Maidan.

Apparently not convinced with the PMC's plea to cover laxity in the drive, urban development minister Prem Kumar, meanwhile, convened a meeting of the corporationĀfs officials to review the pace of the campaign. "I have asked the PMC officials to come up with a detailed plan related to area-specific schedule of fogging. I will depute some officials and individuals to track fogging activities," said the minister.

Officials of the urban development department said, departmental secretary S Siddharth has also taken serious exception to the conduct of municipal bodies in delaying the drive.

"Once the system is streamlined in the state capital, activities of municipal bodies of other districts would be monitored through a special cell in the department headed by the secretary himself," said a senior officer of the department, adding that help of other departments such as malaria department might be sought to tackle the menace.