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With dengue cases crossing last year's figure of 1,153 in Delhi, Government on Friday said it would launch a special cleaning drive from 6th September to prevent breeding of mosquitoes even as it assured that the strain prevalent this year was far less lethal. After a meeting with all the civic agencies of the capital as well as the Delhi Government, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters that from Monday a massive, coordinated cleaning operation for two days would be launched which would cover all roads, lanes and bylanes. 

The operation would be conducted by MCD, NDMC, CPWD and the cantonment board. "Mostly big roads are being cleaned and small lanes, bylanes and houses are kept unattended," Azad said. He said that the ministry has also asked agencies like Metro and CPWD to close work in areas where construction is over and use insecticides at the sites of under-construction projects.

"We have also asked the Delhi Government to ensure cleanliness in all government hospitals," Azad said adding MCD has been asked to form ward-level committees to take responsibility of cleaning up the areas. The Health Minister said he has requested MCD to institute awards for best performing wards in the cleanliness drive. 

The meeting also arrived at a decision to provide Resident Welfare Associations in all localities with the chemical 'Tamiphos' which can be sprayed to kill mosquitoes and their larvae. "All Government buildings specially multi-storied ones would be monitored to check for breeding in their water tanks, coolers and other places where water collects," Azad said. MCD and NDMC have also been asked to open call centres where people can call and report any breeding or water logging. Azad, however, clarified that there was no need to panic as the dengue strain in circulation was of type-I variety, which is far less lethal. He repeated his contention that the outbreak was massive this year because of the large-scale construction activity and excess monsoons. Azad said efforts made by various agencies to contain the disease so far were isolated attempts and in Friday's over two-hour long meeting, there was a unanimous decision to coordinate efforts.

"There was no passing the buck," he added. The meeting was attended by Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia, Mayor Kanwar Sain, Health Secretary Sujatha Rao and other senior officials as well as representatives of hospitals, NDMC, Cantonment Board and CPWD. The city had recorded 1,55 dengue cases this year, crossing the last years's mark of 1,153. 

Three persons have died. According to statistics released by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the number of cases till this time in 2009 was only four. The figure was 92 and 22 in the same periods in 2008 and 2007 respectively. According to the MCD, in the previous years, the total number of dengue cases and deaths were 1,312 and 2 (2008), 548 and 1 (2007) and 3,366 and 36 (2006). Subscribe to SCHOLARS CLUB
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