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UP yet to take decision on Rahul's fogging plan

While JE has claimed at least 875 lives, Mulayam Singh is yet to take a decision on Rahul Gandhi's proposal for aerial fogging in virus-affected pockets.

india Updated: Sep 24, 2005 20:58 IST
Sharat Pradhan (IANS)
Sharat Pradhan (IANS)

While Japanese encephalitis has claimed at least 875 lives, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav is yet to take a decision on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's proposal for aerial fogging in virus-affected pockets.

The Samajvadi Party (SP) government has offered what may be seen as lame excuses to block the proposal coming from United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi's son.

The state government initially did not permit a helicopter to proceed on its anti-encephalitis mission on the grounds that even the central health authorities had not given sanction for such an exercise that could "cause harm to the human population."

It prompted Union Health Secretary PK Hota to shoot off a letter September 19 to the state government, favouring aerial fogging.

The letter also said that aerial fogging would help in delivering insecticides to otherwise inaccessible pockets. It further clarified that such fogging would not cause any harm to the human population.

Hota's letter also made a reference to the encephalitis review meeting held under the chairmanship of cabinet secretary BK Chaturvedi in Delhi last week, where state officials were also present.

"The issue of involving civil society institutions for aerial fogging was discussed and the World Health Organisation's advice on the subject was also discussed. And according to that, aerial fogging in a limited scale for gaining access to otherwise difficult areas would be in order", Hota had stated.

The state government, however, is yet to start aerial flogging operations that can check the spread of the killer virus.

State Principal Health Secretary Siddhartha Behura, who had earlier presented several reasons to disallow aerial fogging, has come up with one more reason after the letter from the central government.

"We have not received any written request from any organisation volunteering to carry out aerial fogging; so who do we grant such permission to is not clear," Behura said on Thursday.

First Published: Sep 24, 2005 20:58 IST