March 22, 2021 2:31:10 am
With the workforce for controlling the spread of mosquitoes engaged in tasks such as tax collection and house surveys, and weather conditions being favourable, a sudden rise in the number of mosquitoes has been observed in the city over the past few weeks.
Debanad Sharma, president, Anti-Malaria Ekta Karamchari Union and a Domestic Breeding Checker (DBC) in South MCD, said that for past two months they have been engaged to monitor open defecation in the area, a house tax survey, and DDA’s door-to-door exercise in unauthorised colonies to encourage people to register their houses. “For the DDA survey, their role is to ask people to get their house registered and get ownership rights. Despite all this, we are not even given proper designations. There is no name for our posts in the MCD statutes,” said Sharma.
Another DBC worker, who did not want to be named, said, “We are on duty between 4 am and noon to check open defecation. After this, we are expected to proceed on mosquito-control duties as well. Work will naturally suffer.”
Sources in the corporation claimed that over 1,000 workers have been diverted for other duties. A senior South MCD official said some workers were diverted to distribute house tax notices as they know addresses better.
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On a usual day, around 3,500 DBCs employed in the three MCDs visit 60-70 houses to check if coolers, overhead tanks and flower pots have stagnant water that could be breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
A senior official of North MCD said around 300 of 2,000 workers have been engaged in tax collection, but said they would increase the anti-mosquito drive to to control the spurt.
Dr Arun Yadav, a senior doctor at Hindu Rao Hospital, said temperature for mosquito breeding is apt at present: “The ideal condition for mosquitoes to grow is when the temperature rises above 10 degrees Celsius and this continues till it hits the 40s. This is the time to intensify the anti-mosquito drive…”
Data shows that the number of house visits by DBCs has declined — from 44 lakh in 2018, 45 lakh in 2019, 19 lakh in 2020 and 21 lakh this year (all figures from January 1 till the second week of March). The figures in 2020 dipped massively because of the pandemic. Most of the workforce was diverted to disinfect areas and perform other Covid-related duties last year.
East MCD Mayor Nirmal Jain said a meeting has been called on Monday to discuss the issue in which health department officials will be briefing him on actions being taken to control the rise.
Resident welfare associations, meanwhile, have raised the issue of the sudden spurt. President of the Federation of East Delhi RWAs, B S Vohra, who lives in Krishna Nagar, said the infestation suddenly increased and insecticides used in homes are turning out to be largely ineffective.
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