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Kejriwal starts fogging drive, seeks joint effort by parties

New Delhi : To tackle dengue and chikungunya outbreak in the national capital, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today flagged off the Delhi government’s month-long fogging drive and said fighting mosquito menace is “no rocket science” if parties join hands in this effort.

Even as he asked Congress and BJP workers to join the AAP supporters in the drive, he did not refrain from taking potshots at BJP-ruled civic bodies accusing them of not performing their duty in tackling mosquito menace.

“There is no point in blaming each other. Mosquitoes bite Congress, BJP as well as AAP supporters. This goes on every year. This time MCD could not perform. I will not go into the reasons. All parties need to wage a joint war against mosquitoes. Getting rid of them is no rocket science,” he said.

Urging volunteers of every political party to ensure that no area is left out in the drive, the Chief Minister said, “People can get their homes fumigated on request.”

If the one-month experiment is successful, then fogging drive will be advanced to April-May next year, Kejriwal said.

The workers, hired by a private agency, have been divided into several teams and deployed across the city to cover each and every locality. Each team, being led by a supervisor, will fumigate a lane and bylane every alternate day.

“I work as a beldar. A senior labourer brought us here.

We have been promised Rs 400 per day. Although I have not been assigned any area till now,” Anil Kumar, handling a portable fogging machine, said.

Scores of workers were lined up outside the Chief Minister’s official residence. Thick plumes of white smoke covered the area as the machines spluttered to life around 11.30 AM. PWD Minister Satyendar Jain and a number of AAP MLAs were also present at the flagging off event.

Jain said Kejriwal, upon returning from Bengaluru, was upset that there were complaints of inadequate fogging on the part of the civic bodies.

At least 40 people have died due to dengue, chikungunya, malaria, in the national capital this season while nearly 4,000 people have been affected by these.

Environment experts have time and again highlighted the pitfalls of excessive focus on fogging which they say does not achieve anything more than producing a feel-good effect among people.

“Medical experts suggest that direct inhalation of diesel fumes (that fogging emits), combined with insecticides, can exacerbate asthma or bronchitis among those with respiratory ailments. Pregnant women, small children and old people are most susceptible to aggravation,” a report by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) says.

However, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had assured that the fogging programme would be conducted according to World Health Organisation guidelines.

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