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Bihar villagers boycott pulse polio drive

Angry over the lack of power supply in their villages, hundreds of families have boycotted the ongoing pulse polio drive in Bihar and have refused to let their infants take the vaccine.

Angry over the lack of power supply in their villages, hundreds of families have boycotted the ongoing pulse polio drive in Bihar and have refused to let their infants take the vaccine.

[ReviewAZON display=”searchquery” query=”polio” count=”5″ category=”All” page=”1″ sort=”default”]Protesting against the lack of power supply in their villages, more than half a dozen villages of two panchayats – Pratappur and Fatehpur in Bihar’s Saran district, about 80 km from here – decided to boycott a pulse polio drive to make themselves heard.

“We boycotted a pulse polio drive to draw the attention of the higher authorities as well as politicians to our genuine demand for power supply in our villages. The power supply was stopped for the last few months thanks to apathy, we have to protest against it,” Rameshar Singh, a resident of Pratappur village, said.

Another villager Mithlesh Prasad said they will continue to boycott the pulse polio drive till the administration takes adequate steps to supply power to their villages.

“Till a few months ago, at least erratic power supply was a hope but now we are forced to live in the dark without power that has hit our agriculture work during the rabi season,” Singh told IANS over telephone.

Last November, villagers protested the lack of power supply by blocking roads for 36 hours but district officials ignored it, Singh said. Local block level officials tried to convince villagers to allow the pulse polio drive to continue Sunday and Monday but to no avail – the villagers refused to end their boycott.

Bihar’s per capita energy consumption is the lowest in the country.

Bihar has the highest incidence of polio in India and recorded over 115 new cases in 2009.

In a bid to control the disease in the state, the central government Sunday introduced  bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV) which is being used for the first time not only in Bihar but in India.

The state immunization officer Gopal Krishna said that bOPV was introduced in 20 most sensitive districts in the state including flood prone districts. “Our target is 12,419,659 children from 0 to 5 years of age for the current drive,” he said.

–Indo-Asian News Service

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