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VIP bias in RMC’s fogging drive

If you are an ordinary citizen living in the lanes and bylanes of the state capital, your chances of falling prey to malaria and other vector-borne diseases are more that the VIP living in the next ward.

There are 55 wards under the jurisdiction of Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC), but the civic body is inarguably more alert and concerned about carrying out fogging in the three localities of Morabadi, Hatia and Doranda. Reason: bigwigs like the chief minister, his father and JMM chief Shibu Soren, governor, Chief Justice of Jharkhand High Court, chief secretary and the like stay in these areas.

So, while the fogging machines are regularly pressed into action at the chief minister’s official residence, Raj Bhavan and the houses of other VIPs/VVIPs, areas like Kanke Road and Harmu are lucky once in one or two months.

Even if fogging machines are sent to wards having no influential personality, the so-called VIP pockets of the particular area get preferential treatment.

An RMC official had no qualms admitting the bias.

“We have mandatory orders to send fogging machines at localities housing the residences of important personalities. In other wards, we are sending fogging machines on a roster basis,” the official.

“If a poor family happens to live in a VIP locality, they also get the service by default,” the official added in an attempt at humour.

The ward councillors were not humoured when The Telegraph spoke to them. A number of them complained that they last saw a fogging machine working in their respective areas two months back.

“Two months back, the RMC workers carried out fogging in my area. Last week, when I complained of mosquitoes, RMC sent a team with a hand-held fogging machine at my residence. But I sent them back because my voters will be offended,” said Arun Kumar Jha, councillor of ward 37 that covers parts of Harmu.

In ward 5, a fogging machine was pressed into action some two months back, that too after repeated pleas by councillor Hushna Ara.

Ward 2, which is the biggest in size with parts of Kanke Road and Ranchi College, saw a mosquito repellent machine working in the locality for half an hour last week.

“But many areas where the poor live were left out. Prior to this, the RMC had sent a team in the first week of May,” councillor Surendra Ram Nayak claimed.

RMC deputy mayor Sanjeev Vijayvargiya admitted that VVIPs and VIPs and their localities get preference when it comes to fogging drives, but added that they were trying to cover other wards as well.

“Right now, RMC has four fogging machines. We have procured 10 new machines each costing around Rs 9.75 lakh. Soon we will appoint more operators and hopefully, a full-fledged fogging drive will start by next month and all wards covered,” he added.