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Ministers lock horns over dengue

HYDERABAD: The ongoing controversy over inclusion of dengue fever in the list of ailments under Arogyasri health insurance scheme found its echo in the State Cabinet meeting on Thursday.

Arogyasri Minister Pithani Satyanarayana is learnt to have taken objection to Health Minister D. Nagender’s unilateral announcement of its inclusion under Arogyasri without consulting officials or the Minister concerned. The ‘over-enthusiasm’ displayed by Mr. Nagender gave scope for the Telugu Desam and other parties to criticise the government.

Mr. Satyanarayana is understood to have explained that in addition to the financial implications, bringing dengue under the purview of Arogyasri would encompass coverage of all seasonal viral fevers under the scheme which the insurers may not be willing to accept.

Sage advise

Chief Minister K. Rosaiah too was said to have expressed unhappiness over the developments. He wanted his Cabinet colleagues to be more restrained in making statements in public. He is understood to have asked the officials concerned to workout a scheme wherein the State would bear the cost of treatment of dengue.

A couple of Ministers are learnt to have complained about the non-release of Rs. 90 lakh to each mandal for developmental works.

Panchayat Raj Minister Botcha Satyanarayana, however, explained that funds for drought-hit mandals were being released on a priority basis and the other mandals too would receive their allocation shortly. The Cabinet is also understood to have expressed concern over the absence of clarity on whether Rs. 1,000 crore assistance announced by the Prime Minister for taking up flood relief works was grant or loan.

The Chief Minister, however, told the Ministers that clarity on the issue would emerge once the release orders were received.

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