The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Laggard zone lines up prize for polio drive

Behrampore, May 29: To shrug off its reputation as the worst performer in pulse polio programmes in Murshidabad, the municipality of Dhuliyan has embarked on an incentive plan for the teams working on the project.

The civic body has announced prizes for the best-performing teams in the next round, on June 1.

“We are inviting media persons to tour the municipality that day to see for themselves our efforts this time round. If there is any drawback or lack of initiative on the part of the volunteers and health workers, inform me,” said Murshidabad district magistrate Manoj Panth.

Dhuliyan, about 80 km from here, has been the worst-performing area in the district in anti-polio programmes with 271 houses remaining uncovered. Murshidabad, which recorded the highest number of patients in the state, was termed the “polio reservoir” of India by the Union health ministry. Of the 48 polio cases detected in Bengal, 30 are in Murshidabad.

Chairman of the Dhuliyan municipality Saraf Ali met representatives of all clubs and NGOs in his area yesterday and announced the reward for the best three clubs or NGOs, if the programme achieves 100 per cent success.

“We have not decided yet but we will either present a trophy or even settle for a cash prize for the best three performers. They will also receive a certificate signed by the district magistrate,” Ali said today. He was confident that Dhuliyan “would deliver” this time.

At least the immediate fallout of the incentive scheme so suggested. Youths from local clubs have begun visiting families that had turned away volunteers during the previous drive.

The houses had been identified by the health department.

Two fresh cases of polio were reported from the area last year and 700 children were administered only a single dose of the oral vaccine, making it even backward than rural Murshidabad.

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