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UP fought JE with limestone dust!

INSTEAD OF insecticides, bags packed with limestone dust were supplied to the districts to control mosquito-borne diseases. The report of the laboratory test states that not only sub-standard insecticides but also limestone dust were packed in bags and supplied to districts for routine spray and fogging works.

india Updated: Jan 24, 2006 01:21 IST

INSTEAD OF insecticides, bags packed with limestone dust were supplied to the districts to control mosquito-borne diseases. The report of the laboratory test states that not only sub-standard insecticides but also limestone dust were packed in bags and supplied to districts for routine spray and fogging works.

Now, we know why even after intensive insecticide spray and fogging in various districts, mosquito-borne diseases including Japanese encephalitis, dengue, malaria and Kalazar killed thousand of people last year.

According to sources, after the outbreak of Japanese Encephalitis in 34 districts last year, the Health Department floated tender to purchase insecticides including malathian, paratherium and DDT. The companies that qualified in the tender were directed to get their sample tested in the laboratory. The samples qualified in the test.

The Central Medical Stores Department gave green signal to the companies for supplying malathian. Soon consignments of malathian were dumped in the stores of the Chief Medical Officers. Spray and fogging works were immediately launched in the rural areas of the districts. Over half of the stock of the insecticides was exhausted within a few days.

The then CMO of Allahabad was suspicious about the quality of the insecticides. He dispatched the samples for test to laboratories located at Chandigarh, Lucknow and Kanpur. The report was received a few days back and it blew the lid off the ‘insecticide racket’ in the State. It also laid bare the nexus between officials and drug companies.

Even after detection of the fraud, the Health Department officials failed to direct the CMOs of other districts to get the sample of the insecticides tested.

Instead, they cleared payment to the company. According to rules, the company should have been directed to replace all the consignment of insecticides, but in vain.

Director CMSD, Dr Arjun Kumar said the Health Department had debarred the defaulter company for two years from supplying insecticides, as per its purchase rule.

It was not for the first time that the companies supplied fake insecticides. In 2004, insecticides worth Rs 10 crore were purchased by the Health Department.

To benefit certain companies, the then Additional Director Malaria had purchased insecticides without floating tender.

Without laboratory test of the samples he had cleared payment to the companies. Later, when samples were tested it was found that the companies had supplied sub-standard insecticides. Though fogging was organized in several districts, but it remained ineffective.

Then, too, the Health Department officials had ordered an inquiry over the ‘multi-crore-insecticide scam’. But no action had been taken against the companies or the officers involved in the scam.

First Published: Jan 24, 2006 01:21 IST