Another sting operation has the powers-that-be of the country scrambling for cover. Hours after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's son-in-law and two grandsons were admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for dengue, panic gripped the PM's neighbours.
Politicians and senior bureaucrats made frenzied calls to the health authorities at the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) requesting them to carry out fogging at their homes. "We received as many as 131 calls today. We were able to attend to 90 of them. People were frantic and wanted us to come over and check their homes for the presence of Dengue-causing Aedes Aegypti mosquito for their satisfaction," said NDMC health officer Col SK Garg.
Such was the fear that some even demanded fogging irrespective of whether mosquitoes were found breeding at their homes, Garg said.
The NDMC attend to calls from the house of Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Union Power Minister Sushil Shinde, Minister of State for Urban Development Ajay Maken, Comptroller General of Defence Accounts besides senior bureaucrats, senior Defence personnel and politicians, informed Garg.
"The remaining calls would be taken up on Friday. Besides attending to requests, we have chalked out a detailed programme to carry out thermal fogging in all areas in our jurisdiction. For this, the NDMC area has been divided into four zones and nodal officers have been appointed for each zone," said Garg.
If you are smirking at the thought of dengue becoming this city's great leveler, get wise. The alacrity with which the civic body responded to distress calls of politicians has never been in evidence within the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD)'s limits.
"We have been literally begging MCD officials to carry out fogging in our area, but to no avail. We have made numerous requests at their control room and also a complaint through the area MLA, but to no avail.
“The lake passing through Deer Park is a mosquito hub, but with the PM's family contracting dengue, now the focus is on VIPs. There is no system in which all areas - whether VIP or not - are covered," said Pankaj Aggarwal of Safdarjung Enclave.
Vivek Mishra of Palam Vihar too had a similar grievance. "We have been requesting the MCD to carry out fogging in our area, but they have not bothered to react — despite the fact that there is so much panic in the city. The MCD should ensure that all complaints are attended to people's satisfaction. The civic agencies should take action after chalking out their priorities," he said.
On Thursday, the NDMC carried out fogging at 130 sites, including North and South Blocks, MP Flats, Khan Market, Talkatora Road, Pandit Pant Marg, Prithvi Raj Road, Golf Links, Aurangzeb Road, Park Street, CRPF Camp, Supreme Court, High Court, South Avenue, Wellington Crescent, Tyag Raj Marg, Rajaji Marg, Dalhousie Road, Safdarjung Road, Pataudi House and National Stadium besides others.