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Chief Minister rebuts Telugu Desam charge

Special Correspondent

Says fact-finding team's inquiry reveals the truth

VISAKHAPATNAM: Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy said here on Friday that a fact-finding team's inquiry revealed that the Telugu Desam Party's charge of 44 persons having died of malaria in Champaguda village in the district is false.

"All the 44 persons are alive,'' he said. Director of the National Vector-borne Diseases Control Board B.L. Joshi, a social worker, who is a scientist, and District Malaria Officer Prabhakara Reddy visited the village and found that the 44 persons are alive.

Blood samples were collected from the village and out of the 25 smears, only three were found to be malaria positive. Dr. Reddy asserted his Government's claim that only seven persons died of malaria in the agency mandals.

"We have not said that malaria is not prevalent. We are not afraid to speak the truth, but unfortunately a campaign is on to make the false news overshadow the truth.'' He visited the agency area during the day. In support of his argument that there were very few deaths, he pointed out that the average number of overall deaths in the agency area remained the same when compared to last year.``Also, Andhra University Vice-Chancellor L. Venugopal Reddy told me that the data collected during a sample survey done by the university does not dispute the Government figures."

Regarding the Godavari water diversion scheme to bring water to the city, he said that commissioning could not be done because the Rs.7.5-crore filtration plant was not completed.

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